Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Taste Of Worcester

The First Bottles

The apple and pears for juicing were picked from the orchard two weeks ago, 43 trays, just shy of a tonne of fruit taken to Waterperry Gardens for pressing. This harvest has resulted in 700 bottles of 'Worcester College Oxford Apple & Pear Juice' being produced, all of which need to be labelled. Two labels are required on each bottle which means rather a lot of labelling!


The Front Label

A Duck On The Back

A Labelled Bottle

The Demonstration Team

This afternoon the team held an event in the cloisters to promote the orchard, its fruit and the bottled juice. On show, along with the bottles for sale, were named varieties of apple and pears from the orchard and a pressing demonstration with free samples of the resultant juice from the press. 

Bottles Of Juice And Fruit

The Hopper

On a much smaller scale than Waterperry a manual press was used to make juice. First the fruit had to be chopped in to pieces and placed in the hopper. As the handle below the hopper was turned the fruit passed through the rotating metal teeth crushing it in to very small pieces. The pieces, known as 'Pomace', fell in to the bucket below and was then tipped in to the press. Wooden plates were placed on top and the handle turned forcing the plates down, squeezing the juice out in to the sterilised bucket below. This juice was then poured in to a jug and served for tasting. By the end of the demonstration and tasting session 151 bottles had been sold, a great first day of sale and a true taste of Worcester. 

The Press

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii, The Harlequin Glorybower

Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii

In the herbaceous border large spaces remain where the tender plants once stood and the trees are losing their leaves but, as the annual and perennial flowers start to fade, there is a shrub that is putting on quite a show, Clerodendrum trichotomum var. fargesii, the Harlequin Glorybower.

White Starry Fragrant Flowers

Covered in numerous metallic blue berries, each one surrounded by star shaped maroon calyces, this large shrub's colourful display catches your eye as you walk past. White starry fragrant flowers have yet to open so more berries are still to come, a wonderful late autumn display.

Metallic Blue Berries, Maroon Calyces Against Large Green Ovate Leaves

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Heeling In bed

The evergreen plants that were removed from the containers in May, when the displays were changed from winter to summer, have been in their temporary home, the heeling in bed, since that time. 

Sarcococca confusa
After almost 5 months it is time for the evergreens to be taken back to the containers, not necessarily to the same ones as they were in last time, and become part of this year's winter display.

Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens',  Black Grass

Wallflowers 'Sunset White'

Pansy's Cool Wave Berries 'n' Cream

Tulip 'White Marvel' and Iris reticulata 'J.S Dijt'
Gathering together all the parts that will create the display, the evergreens, ornamental grass, wallflowers, pansys and bulbs, Ali takes them to the four lead containers for planting. These are the first of 38 containers that will be planted for the winter.

A Full Wheelbarrow
The main focal point of the containers is the white flowered, black berried, evergreen shrub Sarcococca confusa, Sweet Box, underplanted by the black grass, Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'. The winter bedding plants are Wallflower 'Sunset White' and the white and purple Pansy Cool Wave 'Berries 'n' Cream'. Beneath this planting are Tulips 'Marvel White' and purple flowered Iris reticulata 'J.S. Dijt'. The colour scheme for these containers is black, white and purple. 

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Cuttings Have Rooted And Ready For Separation

Most of the cuttings taken last month from all the tender plants in the college gardens, for next year's displays, have rooted. Removed from the mist unit last week, they have had time to acclimatise to the greenhouse environment and are ready for separation in to their individual pots

Tapping Out

Gently tapped out of their pots, the cuttings roots are carefully prised apart to separate them in to individual plants.

Prised Apart

Potting Up
The new young plants are placed in to small pots containing compost, a 50/50 mix of multipurpose compost and John Innes compost, gently firming them in.

Placed on the greenhouse staging they are watered in. These plants will eventually be planted out in the gardens next June creating the displays for summer 2016.

Cuttings In Their Individual Pots

Thursday, 15 October 2015

It Seems Like Only Yesterday

27th August 2015
It's all change in the corner border, it seems like only yesterday that the team were removing the wallflowers and tulips from the last winter's display, see blog entry 4th June 'Three Rusty Iron Crates'.

Removing The Rusty Crates

Removing The Annual Planting

The three rusty iron crates were lifted out of the border and taken away for storage, perhaps to be used elsewhere in the college next year. The annuals were then dug up and taken to the compost heap, the soil was then forked through to loosen compaction and to remove weeds and debris. The area was then levelled, spreading the soil around to fill in the gaps left by the removed root balls. A layer of leaf mould was spread over the top and then the area was given the 'treading' treatment. This 'treading', also known as 'heeling', is an old fashioned method of squeezing the air pockets out of the soil that have arisen from the removing of the plants and the forking. Walking, or shuffling across the soil, your weight is pushed down through the heel, half a foot step at a time, until the entire border has been done.(Also known as 'doing the penguin', if you have seen a penguin walking you will know why). Working from the back to the front of the border the soil is then levelled again to remove the heavy indents created by the foot prints. The border was now ready for planting. 

Ready For Planting
The trays of Wallflower 'Sunset White' were brought over to the border from the cold frames and placed out on the soil, their planting position.

435 Wallflowers 'Sunset White'

By the end of the day 435 wallflowers had been planted, after which 200 tulips were then planted amongst them. Tulip 'Spring Green', which will also flower April to May, will give an elegant show of ivory petals with a green stripe through the clean white petals of the wallflowers.

Planting Tulip 'Spring Green'

15th October 2015

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

600 Tulips, 500 Allium And 100 Camassia

An area at the bottom of the Provost's garden has been prepared for the creation of a wildflower meadow with bulbs. Today the planting of the 1200 bulbs took place consisting of 600 Tulips, 500 Allium and 100 Camassia. 

The Tulips are made up of six varieties, Sun Lover, Atilla, Menton, Jan Reus, Irene Parrot and National Velvet. The Allium are 'Purple Sensation' and the Camassia are 'Caerulea'.

First the Camassia were planted then all the Tulips and Allium were put in a large trug ready for mixing. 

To mix them well they were poured several times from the trug in to the wheel barrow and back again.

Once the mixing was complete the bulbs were put back in to bags ready for planting.

Working together half of the team dug the holes whilst the other half planted the bulbs in to the holes in singles or groups of two and three. The next bulb to be planted will be 100 Fritillaria meleagris, the snake's head fritillary followed by the planting of the wildflower plug plants due to arrive in the next two to three weeks. 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Picking The Apples And Pears For Juicing

The Young Trees

It's apple and pear picking time in the college orchard. Many of the apple trees are laden with fruit although the pear trees are quite sparse.

Apple, Variety 'Orleans Reinette'

The young trees have benefited from the removal of some of the fruitlets that took place in early July, see blog entry 6th July 'Fruit Thinning', which has resulted in many good sized apples.

Working together, armed with bags and with plenty of trays to fill, Ady, Kieron, Graham, Callum and Danny started to pick the fruit.




The Fruit Picking Team
By the end of the day 19 trays had been filled ready to be taken to Waterperry to be pressed. The picking will continue over the next few days.

As well as picking fruit to be pressed for juice, the team have also been supplying the chefs with apples for formal dinners, apple crumble a particular favourite with the cooking apples 'Golden Spire' and 'Bramley'.  

Formal Dinner Menu