Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Planted In Triplicate

Removing The Winter Display

Last week the nine oak planters were moved from the centre of the Besse Courtyard in preparation for the triennial ball. Now that the ball is over the winter planting has been removed and replaced with this year's summer display. The decision was made to delay the replanting until after the ball in order to prevent the new display from being damaged from any frivolity and, with the risk now gone, the change over has been completed.   

A Truck Full Of Plants

The plants that were due to be used to create the display have been sat in the cold frames waiting patiently until it was their time to come out in to the gardens and, as the planters are usually changed during the first week of June, the plants were potted up in to larger flower pots to allow them to continue to grow during the three week delay. 

Placing Out

1 Large, 1 Medium and 1 Small Planter

Last year's display was made up of all nine planters together in the centre of the courtyard, see blog entry 26th May 2016 'Pelargonium Aplenty', but, having moved them to around the edge of the courtyard for the ball, it was decided to leave them in their new positions. One group of nine became three groups of three; 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large, all planted with the same plants in each planter, planted in triplicate.

3 x Small Planter:
Pelargonium tomentosum 'Chocolate Spot', Pelargonium 'Precision Bright Lilac', Pelargonium 'Lord Bute', Pelargonium denticulatum 'Filicifolia', Pelargonium 'Candy Dancer', Plectranthus coleoides variegata, Pelargonium Ivy Leaf 'Supreme Burgandy' and Amaranthus tricolor 'Red Army'.

3 x Medium Planter :
Pelargonium tomentosum 'Chocolate Spot', Pelargonium 'Precision Bright Lilac', Pelargonium 'Lord Bute', Pelargonium denticulatum 'Filicifolia', Pelargonium 'Clorinda', Pelargonium 'Royal Oak', Pelargonium grandeur odorata 'Cola', Plectranthus coleoides variegata, Pelargonium Ivy Leaf 'Supreme Burgandy'   and  Pennisetum glaucum F1 'Purple Majesty' (Ornamental Millet F1 'Purple Majesty') x 3.

3 x Large Planter:
Pelargonium cordifolium rubrocinctum, Pelargonium tomentosum 'Chocolate Spot', Pelargonium 'Precision Bright Lilac', Pelargonium 'Lord Bute', Pelargonium denticulatum 'Filicifolia', Pelargonium 'Clorinda', Pelargonium 'Royal Oak', Pelargonium Ivy Leaf 'Supreme Burgandy' , Pelargonium papilionaceus, Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate', Plectranthus coleoides variegata, Molinia caerulea 'Edith Dudszus' x 3.

All the pelargonium were used last year but there are some new additions used in the planters this year, they are:
Molinia caerulea 'Edith Dudszus', "rich purple almost black flower stems and dense flower spikes and dense flower spikes profusely produced from tussocks of good green foliage".
Pelargonium 'Candy Dancer', "Light mauve-pink flower, Rose-petal scented"
Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate', "Leaves have a distinct and attractive dark coppery hue".
Pennisetum glaucum F1 'Purple Majesty' (Ornamental Millet F1 'Purple Majesty') Dark purple leaves on maturity with a dark flower plume
Amaranthus tricolor 'Red Army', Deep red crimson foliage and flower spikes

Albizia, Pelargonium, Plectranthus, Molinia

Pelargonium And Amaranthus

Friday, 23 June 2017

Triennial Ball 2017

Acoustic Stage

After two weeks of hard work by the team the day of the Triennial Ball has arrived and the gardens are ready to welcome the many guests to the college. The contractors have put up all the marquees, lights, stages and food stalls, and the ball committee have paid great attention to the detail, making sure that everything is in place and ready to make the ball the perfect evening. 2020 will be the next time the college holds the ball.  

Plane Tree Lights

Live Stage and Big Wheel

Herbaceous Border Roped Off

Lighting In Place

'Border In The Corner' Roped Off

Dining Marquee

Bottom Border Roped Off

Banks Cut, Quad Cut and All Roped Off

Relaxation Marquee (View From The Lake)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Preparing The Gardens For The College Ball

20 Rather Shaggy Yew Columns

Apart from their regular daily maintenance tasks the team's main priority over the last few weeks has been preparing the gardens for the college's triennial ball which is being held tomorrow night.

Just The Tops Left To Cut

Last week the team worked in the Provost's garden trimming the rather shaggy yew columns and yew hedges, smartening them up for the big day, the many roses were also dead headed and the borders weeded.

Cutting The Tops

Power Washing The Bridge

This week, with only two days to go, the bridge that links the Provost's garden with the Nuffield lawn was given a good wash off with the power washer.

Moving The Display

Over in the Provost's yard, Besse Building courtyard, the oak planters were removed from the central walkway and placed around the sides to create more space for the many guests. These planters will have their winter/spring display removed next week and replanted with their display for the summer.

Herbaceous Border (R) Roped Off

In the Nuffield lawn area, having been weeded and dead headed, the herbaceous borders and the 'border in the corner' were roped off to give the plants some protection just in case there is too much merriment resulting in a loss of balance! Tomorrow the team will continue to make the garden perfect for this very special event.

Herbaceous Border (L) Roped Off

'Border In The Corner' Roped Off

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stihl HSA 25 Cordless Shrub And Grass Shears

The Stihl HSA 25 Cordless Shrub And Grass Shears Kit

Grass Shears With Trimming Blade Attached and The Hedge Trimmer Blade

Impressed by just how easy to use and how light, quiet, powerful the Stihl cordless blower and Stihl cordless hedge trimmer are, another piece of equipment has been purchased from the Stihl cordless range. For the hedge trimmer see blog entry 18th September 2015 'Stihl HSA 86 Cordless Hedge Trimmer' and the 7th September 2016 'Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer With Battery Belt'.

Telescopic Arm and Case

Pushing It Along The Top Of The Grass Banks

The new tool is the 'Stihl HSA 25 Cordless Shrub and Grass Shears' which is perfect for trimming the very awkward areas on the grass banks that the Flymo can not reach, these areas were previously cut with edging shears. With the Stihl telescopic arm attached to the trimmer, and the small wheels clipped on to its base, the new tool is pushed along the grass, the trimming blade cutting the grass as it goes. Impressed again the team are very happy with their new piece of equipment.    

Grass Shears With Grass Trimmer Blade

Stihl HSA 25 Cordless Shrub And Grass Shears With Telescopic Arm And Wheels

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Dalmatians With Plum Coloured Spots!

A Tray Of Foxgloves Grown From Seed

The Dalmatians in this blog entry are not of the canine variety but plants, Foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmatian Mixed'. Eleven months ago several different packets of seed were sown including this variety of foxglove, see blog entry for the 15th July 2016 'Eleven Half Trays And Six Shallow Pots'.

A Young Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmatian Mixed'

Having spent seven months in the greenhouse and cold frames the young Dalmatians were planted out in to the Provost's lodging borders in February and have continued to grow in their new home.

Rose 'Tuscany Superb' And Digitalis purpurea 'Dalmatian Mixed'

However it was not until this month, with the production of their tall flower spike, that they have shown just how perfect these Dalmatians actually are. Flowering next to the rose 'Tuscany Superb', the fragrant flowers of this rose are a dark crimson purple in colour, and compliment the plum coloured markings in the pure white flowers of the foxglove, this wonderful Dalmatian has plum coloured spots!
A Dalmatian With Plum Coloured Spots!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Agapanthus And Nerine

Agapanthus And Nerine Placed Out For Planting

The border in front of the Nuffield Building went through a transformation last month, see blog entry 16th May 'From Lavender To Bearded Iris'. However, the iris flower in May and early June, so what plant or plants could the team put in to the border to extend the flowering period and would also flourish in well drained, slightly dry soil, a sheltered position and in full sun? (The bearded iris love having their rhizomes partially exposed and baked in the summer sun!)    


The New Mixed Border (Left)

The plants chosen to accompany the iris are Agapanthus (African Lily), flowering June to September, and Nerine (Nerine Lily), flowering September to October. The two varieties of agapanthus, 'Navy Blue' and 'Torbay', have tall stems with deep blue and mid blue flowers respectively, and the four varieties of Nerine bowdenii are 'Marjorie', 'Alba', 'Isabel' and 'Stephanie', on erect stems have pink, white, magenta and cream with a rose tint respectively.
The border, with its mixed colour palette and different flowering times, should now provide interest from May to October. However, following the removal of the old lavender, the gardening team are aware of the loss of this high in nectar plant for the pollinating insects but have, in recent years, planted other areas of lavender for them in the gardens, see blog entry for the 25th June 2015 'Lavender In The Sainsbury Building Planters'.   

Agapanthus 'Torbay'

Monday, 5 June 2017

Changing The Bedding Displays For The Summer

Faded Display Of Wallflowers And Tulips In The Corner

The wallflowers and tulips in the corner border and the border at the far end of the quad are past their best indicating to the gardeners that it is that time of year again, time to change the bedding displays. 

Digging Out The Wallflowers

Two weeks ago the change began. In both of the borders the wallflowers were dug out and taken to the compost pile. The tulips were then dug out with their foliage attached and placed in to trays for drying out, they may be used in the college displays next year.

Porous Hose Laying

Once all the plant and leaf debris had been removed, the borders were forked through and levelled in preparation for planting. Due to the lack of rain so far this year, and with the real possibility of a dry summer, new porous pipes were laid to aid watering in the coming months.

Planted With The Summer Display

The Border In The Corner

With the pipes laid and clipped in to place the first of the plants for this year's summer displays were brought over from the greenhouse and planted out, the remaining plants have been planted over the last few weeks, the last of which were planted today.

In the corner border the plants this year are: (Grown from seed) Nicotiana langsdorffii; Cosmos 'Pied Piper Red'; Verbena rigida; Zinnia elegans 'Envy'; Nicotiana alata 'Lime Green'; Nicotiana x Multabilis 'Green'; Cosmos 'Double Click Rose Bonbon'; Cosmos bippinatus 'Rubenza'; Cosmos bippinatus 'Cupcakes'; Antirrhinum majus nanum 'Bronze Dragon'; Salvia fabrinacea 'Victoria'; Zinnia elegans 'Lilliput Purple'; Zinnia elegans 'Purple Prince'; Cosmos 'Psyche White'; Amaranthus tricolor 'Red Army'; Nigella papillosa 'Midnight' and Cornflower 'Black Ball'. 
Also planted are: (Plug plants from Ball Colegrave) Ornamental Millet F1 'Purple Majesty'. (Grown from cuttings) Tibouchina urvilleana, the Glory Flower, and Cyphomandra corymbiflora, the hardy tamarillo tree.

Border At The Far End Of The Quad

Faded Wallflowers

Digging Out The Wallflowers And Tulips

Planting Out The Summer Display Plants

In the border at the far end of the quad the plants this year are: (Grown from seed) Antirrhinum majus 'Liberty Lavender'; Lavatera trimestris 'Loveliness Mixed'; Lavatera trimestris 'Twins Hot Pink'; Crepis rubra; Cosmos bipinnatus 'Gazebo Mixed'; Antirrhinum majus 'Lipstick Silver'; Cleome spinosa 'Violet Queen'; Salpiglossis sinuata 'Black Trumpets'; Nicotiana x hybrida 'Whispers Mixed', Antirrhinum majus 'Lucky Lips' Nicotiana mutabilis, Zaluzianskya carpensis 'Midnight Candy', Gaura lindheimeri 'Sparkle White' and Ammi visnaga.
Also planted: (Grown from cuttings) Pelargonium  'Angel Eyes Randy,  Pelargonium'Clorinda', Plectranthus argentatus 'Silver Shield', Salvia 'Penny's Smile', Diascia personata.
The structure is provided by the permenant planting, the perennials, shrubs and grass: Hemerocallis 'Catherine Woodbery'; Artemisia 'Powis Castle'; Zantedeschia aethiopica 'Crowborough'; Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'; Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'; Hydrangea paniculata 'Pinky Winky'; Alchemilla mollis; Kirengeshoma palmata; Staphylea colchica (Bladdernut); Indigofera gerardiana and Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light'.

Planted With The Young Plants

Border At The Far End Of The Quad