Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Heavy Rain Welcomes The Freshers Of 2015

Keeping The Belongings Dry

A very wet morning greeted the freshers and their families as they arrived at the college today. The gardeners did their best to keep their belongings dry as they transported it to the accommodation blocks furthest away from the car park.

Well Lit Up But Soaked
Damp, grey and overcast the team were well lit up in their florescent jackets but the waterproofs couldn't keep them dry. They got a soaking from the heavy deluge of rain but they kept smiling despite the wet conditions.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The First Bulbs Are Planted For Flowering In 2016

2885 Bulbs

This year's bulb ordered arrived mid September and have been stored in a cool, dark shed since then waiting to be planted. This autumn the team will plant 2885 bulbs in the garden starting with 10 Eremurus 'White Beauty' (Foxtail Lily).

Eremurus or Giant Spiders?

The Eremurus were taken to the part of the garden known as the goldfish bowl for planting in one of the three borders. The bulbs have an unusual shape, like giant spiders or jellyfish out of water, long fleshy, tuberous roots fanning out from the crown. 

Eremurus In Shallow Holes

Six shallow holes were dug in the well drained soil, a thin layer of horticultural grit placed in the bottom, the bulbs placed on top of the grit and covered in soil. Next summer tall, majestic white flower spikes will soar above the lower planting below them.

Planting Daffodils Around The Hornbeam

Having planted the Eremurus, Danny and Ali were joined by Simon in the Provost's garden to plant 300 Narcissus 'Thalia', a pure white, multi-headed, rather elegant flowered daffodil. The site chosen, a sunny spot around a Hornbeam, Carpinus betulus.

200 Tulips Bulbs, National Velvet and China Pink

With the daffodils planted next came the first of the tulips, 200 for planting in the orchard, Tulipa National Velvet and China Pink, to add to the previous years planting. Tipped in to a trug and mixed up, the tulips were planted in the grass in singles, twos and threes, the combinations of the deep velvet red and pink will be unknown until April when they flower beneath the apple blossom.   

Planting In The Orchard

The bulb planting will continue over the next 4-6 week in the borders, grass and containers until all 2885 have been planted.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Pruning Lavender (Leaving Some For The Bees Though)

The lavender planters on the balconies of the Sainsbury Building are almost ready to be pruned but with the students due back at the college in the coming week, and the only access to the planters being through their rooms and kitchens, the pruning has had to be done before all the flowers have faded. (To see how these planters have matured since they were planted see blog entry 11th February '3 Planters, 69 Lavender Plants and A Tonne Of Gravel'.

Using secateurs Simon, Danny and Ali carefully removed the flower stalks and a few inches of this year's growth to create neat, compact plants.

After completing the first three planters and, having noticed the large number of bees that were still visiting the flowers, the gardeners had a crisis of conscience about taking away their source of nectar so decided to leave pruning the plants in the final planter until all the flowers have faded. 

Left For The Bees, Lavender In Full Flower

Bee Enjoying The Nectar

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Privet Hedge

The privet hedge in the car park is cut two to three times a year and today was the final time for 2015. However, Simon and Danny decided to make a few changes to the usual wavey design and create a shape based on the popular childrens book  'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. Tapering the end to create a tail, cutting a hole for an eye and removing a small section for the mouth the caterpillar soon emerged, only this one will not turn in to a butterfly! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Making Use Of The Scaffolding

July 2015

The Rose, Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' was pruned in July after it had finished flowering, see blog entry 17th July 'FromThe Top Of A Long Ladder'. Due to the height of the rose it is a two man job, one working a the top of the long ladder whilst the other foots the ladder.

As the scaffolding is in place for the next two to three weeks it is the ideal opportunity to make use of it. Leaving the long ladder in the shed, Ali used the scaffolding ladder to get up on to the platform to prune the long, untidy stems of the banksiae that had grown since July. Further use will also be made of this safe platform to put up and replace the wires on the wall of the cottages that support the climbers.   

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' Behind The Scaffolding

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

'A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place'

'A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place'

The project that began on the 24th August to improve one of the tool sheds went in to its final two days this week. The left hand wall contains the new louvre panel racking system and the old shelving unit leaving the far end and left hand wall to be filled with tools.

New long, black steel storage hooks, Rothley spring loaded clips and double tool stoarge hooks were screwed in to the walls for all the tools. The final task to label them all, there is now a place for everything and everything in its place.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Stihl HSA 86 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

The 33 box balls in the borders of the Ruskin Building quad were cut today using the new Stihl HSA 86 cordless hedge trimmer. In previous years, as well as using hand shears, the box was first cut using a Stihl petrol hedge trimmer which was heavy, noisy and in need of several refuels. This new hedge trimmer is lighter, much quieter and the battery lasted for the entire duration of the task. Its low running noise is perfect for the college environment, particularly when cutting these box balls as they are situated next a meeting room which is regularly in use.