Monday, 31 October 2016

September's Cuttings Have Rooted

Rooted Cuttings

Nearly 700 cuttings were taken during September and many have begun to show signs that they have rooted successfully, some quicker than others, the fastest growing were removed from the mist unit a few weeks ago. 

Plectranthus argentatus 'Silver Shield'

Over the last few days the best of the rooted cuttings have been carefully removed from their pots, 5-10 cuttings in each pot depending on the size of cutting material, and gently teased apart to separate them.

Salvia cacaliifolia

Each tiny plant was potted up in to their own individual pot, placed in rows on the staging and watered in. As they outgrow these small pots they will be repotted in to the next size and, as in previous years, will be repotted for one final time before they are moved out of the heated greenhouse to the unheated greenhouse for hardening off, a process for acclimatising the young plants for the outdoors before they are planted out in the gardens next summer.   

Cuttings On The Staging

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Pyramids And Lollipops

Oak Containers Winter 2015/2016 Display

26th May 2016 Oak Containers At The Start Of Summer

14th September 2016 Oak Containers At The End Of Summer

From 'Pelargonium Aplenty' on the 26th May to today's planting of the evergreens, the summer display has been removed from the oak containers in the Besse Courtyard and replaced with the winter evergreen display of pyramids and lollipops.

Pelargonium Aplenty

Removing The Summer Display

Lots of cuttings have already been taken from the many pelargonium that made up this years summer display so, apart from one of each variety that have returned to the greenhouse as stock plants, all the rest have been removed and taken to the compost heap. The black succulents, Aeonium arboreum Schwarzkopf' were also taken to the greenhouse for winter storage.

All Change


Once the oak containers had been emptied of plants the soil was forked through to remove old roots and leaf debris, checked for vine weevil grubs, then topped up with fresh multipurpose compost ready for planting.

Evergreens Stored In The Heeling In Area Since May

The plants that will create this year's winter display have been in storage in the heeling in area since they were removed in May and have been waiting patiently for their return appearance. The bay pyramids and lollipops, New Zealand Flax, Vibernum and black grass were dug up and taken to the courtyard for the display to be created.

Planting Up The Containers

This winter the seven containers will remain in a cluster in the centre of the courtyard, different from last year's display when only five were used in a line, see first photograph above.  

Pyramid And Lollipops

In addition to the evergreens and foliage plants 100 Tulips 'White Marvel' and a dozen Wallflower 'Sunset Primrose' have been planted to add a splash of colour in May next year.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

25Kg Bag Of Daffodils, Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

Ready To Plant, Daffodils And Spades

Where a lime tree once stood 25kg of daffodils (approx. 425) were planted today. The daffodils chosen, Narcissus 'Ice Follies', are large cupped, flowering in March, white with a pale yellow crown that changes to creamy white with age and are good for naturalising.

Where A Lime Tree Once Stood

25kg (approx. 425) Bag Of Daffodils, Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

Planting Bulbs

To achieve a more natural look the bulbs are scattered randomly across the area and planted where they fell. The team worked together digging the holes and planting the bulbs, completing the task in just a few hours, they must now wait until March to see this newly created bulb area in flower.

The Bag Is Empty

The Newly Planted Bulb Area

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Giants Are On the Move

Not knowing when the first frosts are due the removal of the giant tender banana plants back in to the greenhouse is all about who breaks first, the gardeners or the weather. The longer the plants are left outside the greater the risk of an unforeseen frost and its damage to these giants so today the decision was made to dig them up and take them back to the warm greenhouse environment, the gardeners broke first!

Ali And The Smallest Banana

The team need to dig out four banana plants starting with the smallest and working their way up to the giant, bigger in every way, weight, height and girth.

A Giant On Display In The Gardens

Digging Out

Digging a trench around the banana the team expose the root ball then carefully dig beneath it until it becomes free from the soil. Placing their spades to one side they lift the huge banana out of the hole and carry it out of the border to the trailer for its transportation to the greenhouse.

Here It Comes

It's Heavy!

The Carriage Awaits

Back In The Greenhouse


Taken over to the greenhouse the banana plant is carried inside and planted in to a large plant pot slightly larger than the root ball.

The Biggest Banana

Returning to the border they start to dig out the next banana plant. Planted out in the gardens on the 1st June, see blog entry 'How Many Gardeners Does It Take To.....?' the biggest banana plant has got even bigger. With the soil removed from around the root ball it soon becomes abvious that this one is far to big to be lifted out by man alone, help is needed by machine in the form of the grab attachment on the New Holland tractor.

Root Ball Loosened

A Tractor Is Required

Manoeuvring the tractor in to the border the grab is carefully lowered until the large stem of the banana plant sits within the the top set of tines and the bottom set are beneath the root ball. Slowly the giant plant is lifted out of the soil and, reversing the tractor, is removed from the border. Before transporting it back to the greenhouse the stability of precious cargo is checked then its journey begins. Once at the greenhouse it is found to be too big to get inside so the top is removed then taken inside to be potted up, within a few hours it has already grown an inch! These plants will remain in the warm greenhouse until next June when they will make the return journey back to the border for next summer's display. 

It's Out!

Driving Back To The Greenhouse

Within Hours It Has Grown An Inch

Safely Stowed

An Empty Space Where The Giant Once Stood

Something Is Missing

Friday, 14 October 2016

Additional Bulb Planting For The Meadow

Fritillaria, Tulips, Allium and Camassia

Last October twelve hundred bulbs were planted in a newly created meadow at the far end of the Provot's garden, see blog entry for 14th October '600 Tulips, 500 Allium and 100 Camassia'. Seven months later and these bulbs were putting on quite a display, see blog entry for the 9th August 'Five Months In The Life Of The New Wildflower Meadow'. However, not content with this display, more bulbs were planted today in the hope of making a more spectacular display next Spring. 
Bulbs Ready For Planting

The additional bulb planting for the meadow are: 500 Fritillaria meleagris (Snakeshead Fritillary), 200 Tulip 'Havran', 100 Allium christophii, 100 Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' and 40 Camassia leichtinii 'Caerulea'.

Two cuts

For the planting of the larger bulbs, tulips, allium and camassia, spades were used. Cutting through the grass, twice for a triangle, three times for a square, the turf is carefully peeled/folded back along the uncut side. (The small fritillary were planted using a bulb planter).

Peeled/Folded Back Along The Uncut Side

Digging out the soil the bulbs are placed at the bottom of the hole and the soil put back in to the hole over the bulbs.

Bulbs In To The Hole

Soil Placed Back In To The Hole

Folded Back In To Position

The turf is folded back in to position and firmed in, the cuts can hardly be seen and the turf will knit back together over the next few weeks. Now the team just have to wait until May 2017 to see this new additional planting in full bloom.

Folded Back And Firmed In

Thursday, 13 October 2016

From Pastels To Blue Diamonds

28th July 2016

The 'border in the corner' had its display changed for the winter yesterday, today it was the turn of the border in the quad to have its change. Planted back at the end of May, see blog entry 25th May 2016 'All Change At The Far End Of The Quad it has put on a subtle display of pastel colours throughout the summer months but within the display a number of the annual plants are fading fast adding an unsightly touch of brown amongst the pastels. 

28th July 2016

22nd August 2016

Clearing Out The Summer Display

The digging out of the summer display began a few days ago with the annual plants which were taken to the compost heap. The perennial plants were then cut down, weeds removed, a mulch of leaf mould added, forked in and levelled ready for planting. 

Clearing The Next Section

Ready For Planting

Today the team came together to plant up the border with wallflowers and tulips. The 220 wallflower, this year's chosen colour 'Sunset Purple', were placed out in to position and planted.

220 Wallflower 'Sunset Purple'

In Position And Ready For Planting

Planting The Wallflowers

Once all the wallflowers had been planted the tulips, 250 Tulipa 'Blue Diamond' were planted amongst them. New to the college gardens this tulip is a large double, late flowered variety, bluish-purple in colour, which will, hopefully, add a bit of 'sparkle' to the quad in May next year. 

250 Tulip 'Blue Diamond'