Monday, 30 June 2014

An Empty Greenhouse

The borders and pot displays have all been planted up leaving just a few plants in the greenhouse. These plants, suffering in the high temperatures, have been moved outside to reside in the cold frames until a place in the gardens is found. The greenhouse now stands empty waiting for its annual deep clean, the temperature will need to drop before Ali attempts that.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Tercentenary Ball, Friday 27th June 2014

The contractors, ball committee and gardeners have spent the week preparing the gardens for the Tercentenary Ball, and at six o'clock the doors were opened to 2000 people to enjoy themselves, here are a few photos. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Last Day Of Preparations For The Ball

The 'Ochard Marquee'

Fine Dining 'Tercentenary Menu'
It's the day of the ball and the preparations continued throughout. The temporary kitchen has arrived and the 'Orchard Marquee' is now filled with 31 tables all ready for those guests that will be dining tonight. 

Temporary Kitchen

Signs have been placed around the gardens, and tables and chairs placed along the Broadwalk for those wishing to enjoy the experience of smoking shisha pipes

The Broadwalk

Shisha Pipes

Ministry Of Sound
The 'Definition Group' have completed the 'Ministry Of Sound' sound stage and on the sportsfield the fireworks have been prepared for a spectacular display.

The quad lawn has been roped off and three large, artificiall turf numbers, Three, Zero, Zero, have been placed in the centre, the college is ready, let the Tercentenary celebrations begin.

300 Years

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tercentenary Ball Preparations Continue

Lighting On The Bridge

The preparations for the ball are happening all around the gardens, lighting engineers have set up huge lengths of cables and lights. Tables and chairs, and toilets have been delivered


Borders Roped off
Special areas of the gardens have been roped off for their protection, flower borders, the banks and the Provost's rose garden.

Ferris Wheel
A 'flat packed' ferris wheel arrived on the back of a lorry and was erected on the Nuffield Lawn whilst the Tercentenary stage continues to built nearby.

Tercentenary Stage

Dining 'Orchard Marquee'
The 'Orchard Marquee', that started to be erected on Monday, is now complete and the table and chairs have been placed inside.

Giant Tulips
In the Provost's garden, two large tulips have been made and more lighting, that will illuminate the lodgings, put into position.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Preparations Begin For The Tercentenary Ball

Lakeside Marquee

This week the team's main focus will be preparing the gardens for the forthcoming Tercentenary Ball to be held in the college grounds this Friday. The first of the contractors arrived Monday morning and put up the relaxation 'Lakeside Marquee' at the far end of the Nuffield Lawn.

Orchard Marquee
The 'Orchard Marquee', which will be for the formal dining, was slowly erected on the orchard, the floor boards and frame first.

Ministry Of Sound Tent
The 'Definition Group' inflated the huge arena for the 'Ministry Of Sound' and will fill it full of equipment for a spectacular light and sound show.

Lighting On The Banks

Quad Lighting

Cabling and lights started to appear all over the grounds and the 'Cocktail Marquee' was another addition to the Nuffield Lawn.

Cocktail Marquee

Friday, 20 June 2014

A Grey Heron In A Boat

It has been a particularly warm day today and one bird, a Grey heron, took the opportunity to cool down in an unusual fashion. Standing in the little wooden boat 'Perdita', (latin for "lost one"), rather than on the edge of the lake, it unfurled its wings and stood cooling itself down, its feet in the cool water in the bottom of the boat and its wings feeling the gentle breeze, a unusual sight for those walking past at the time.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Planting Combinations: Cyphomandra and Lavatera

Cyphomandra corymbiflora (Hardy Tree Tomato)

There is a planting combination found on the terrace of the quad that is looking exceptionally good at the moment. The combination is that of the Hardy Tree Tomato, Cyphomandra corymbiflora, and the Tree Mallow, Lavatera maritima.

Lavatera maritima (Tree Mallow)

The pink and purple flowers of the Cyphomandra hang in clusters and are a perfect match to the pink and lilac flowers, with purple veins and eye of the Lavatera, a great planting combination.

Cyphomandra corymbiflora and Lavatera maritima

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Swans Abandon Their Nest

16th June, Swan last seen on her nest

The swans started rebuilding last year's nest during the third week in March and a week later the first egg had been laid, see blog entries 21st March 2014  and 27th March 2014 respectively. Six weeks earlier than the previous year, it was hoped that cygnets would be seen on the lake sometime in early to mid of May, but the time came and went and still she sat on the nest incubating her seven eggs. She sat for ten weeks, one week longer than last year, before abandoning them. However, the pair have stayed on the lake rather than flying away, as was the case last year, see blog entry 12th July 2013 'Swan Nest And Eggs Abandoned'. The centre of the nest now holds just three eggs, one can be seen teetering on the edge and another in the water, two have disappeared. A sad sight, hopefully next year will be the year that cygnets are finally seen on the lake.

18th June 2013, Nest abandoned

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Fertilising The Quad Lawn

With the Tercentenary Ball less than two weeks away, Joss has fed the quad lawn with another dose of  'Marathon Sport Spring', a slow release fertiliser that will keep the turf supplied with nutrients for the next few months. With no rain forecast for the next 48 hours, Joss switches the watering system on during the day, as well as at night, to wash the newly applied fertiliser into the turf.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Bladder Nut (Staphylea colchica)

Bladder Nut, Staphylea colchica

Planted  a few months ago in the border at the bottom of the quad, the Bladder Nut, Staphylea colchica, has started to produce unusual bladder shaped, greenish-white capsules. This upright, deciduous shrub produces panicles of fragrant white flowers followed by these 'Bladder Nut' capsules, another great addition to the college gardens.

Bladder shaped capsules

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Weeding and Planting In The Tomato House

The tomato house had remained untouched since the tomato, pepper and cucumber plants were removed at the end of last summer. This year's plants have been ready to be planted for a few weeks now, waiting for the two beds to be prepared for planting. Kieron and Danny spent the day removing all the weeds and self sown tomato plant seedlings, digging leaf mould into the beds and planting this year's plants. The varieties for 2014 are: Tomato 'Gardener's Delight' and 'Brutus', Pepper 'Heatwave' and 'Padron', Cucumber 'Bella'.  


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Cut Flowers For The Summer

The Sweet Peas were planted in the cut flower bed at the end of April, see blog entry 29th April 'Sweet Pea Juliet, Anniversary and Apple Blossom'. Other plants have now joined them, but not before the bed had been thoroughly weeded by Emma, our Tuesday volunteer. Once weeded the following plants were planted: Sunflower 'Irish Eyes', Sunflower 'Teddy Bear', Zinnia elegans 'Giant Double Mixed', Antirrhinum majus 'Apple Blossom', Antirrhinum majus 'Royal Bride', Antirrhinum majus 'Orange Wonder' and Panicum elegans 'Frosted Explosion'. The Sweet William are still flowering so will be dug up and replaced by other plants for summer cut flowers once they have finished.

Trimming Yew Columns

The 20 yew columns in the Provost's rose garden are usually trimmed once a year from late July to late August, only once before have they been trimmed in June and that was in 2012 in preparation for the Encaenia garden party, see blog entry 13th June 2012.

With the Tercentenary Ball being held on Friday 27th June, the 20 yew columns are again being trimmed early. Joss, unable to use the petrol hedge trimmer to cut them due to the loud noise it makes and their close proximity to the examination rooms, trims all the columns using hand shears. By the end of a very warm day all the columns have been trimmed and the preparations for the ball begin.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Central Display In The Pump Quad

It started with the large ornamental plants being taken from the greenhouse and being placed into the centre of the Pump Quad, see blog entry 3rd June 'Hiding Large Plant Pots'. Next pallets were cut up, lined and planted up to create a shield to hide the pots, see blog entry 4th June 'Plants In Pallets'. The display has now been completed, all the pallets have been planted and the gaps behind them have been filled to create this year's summer display in the centre of the Pump Quad.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Deadheading Roses

With a garden party being held in the Provost's rose garden this and next weekend, the faded blooms of the roses need to be removed using a simple process called 'deadheading'. The old fashioned roses, including the varieties 'Capitaine John Ingram', 'Cardinal de Richlieu', 'Charles de Mills', 'Ferdinand Pichard' and 'Great Maidens Blush', all flower just the once so the deadheading tidies up the roses, leaving only the fresh blooms. By early July all the roses will have finished flowering, all the faded blooms removed and the under planting of perennials will then be providing the display throughout the summer.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Clemetis 'Durandii'

The Clemetis 'Durandii' in the herbaceous border is now in flower, looking the best it ever has. A non clinging variety, it has been tied to a pyramidal plant support made from hazel which it now completely covers. The indigo-blue flowers are 3-4 inches across with a yellow centre and is one of the first flowers seen on the border this summer.