Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Goldfinch On A Teasel

Not the best of photographs but it captures a moment Ali has been waiting for, a Goldfinch on a teasel head. The teasels have been planted out in the garden for a few years now but this is the first time a goldfich has been spotted feeding on the tiny seeds in the dry, prickly head. Thank you Mr Beardmore for proving the teasels.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Moving An Apple Tree

In an area that was once the student vegetable garden but is now derelict and awaiting the start of the building of a new lecture theatre, an apple tree is in need of a new home in the college orchard.

Best transplanted when dormant, Ali and Graham carefully dug around the roots hoping to keep as much of the root system as possible. The tree was then taken to the bottom orchard, a large hole dug and some organic matter added to the hole. The tree was then gently placed in to the hole, the removed soil back filled and heeled in around the root ball. A wooden stake was inserted at an angle next to the tree and a tree tie used to secure it to the stake to prevent it moving while the new root system is established. The branches were then pruned back so there will be less for the roots to support when the tree goes in to leaf. Finally it was given a good watering in.   

Top Dressing The Paths

Only some of the 10 tonnes of gravel that arrived on Monday was used behind the Linbury Building, the remainder has been used to refresh some of the college paths.

The first path to receive a freshen up was the one that runs aside the Nuffield Lawn down to the lake.

The second path to receive a new top dressing of gravel was the Broadwalk aside the spring border and lake. More gravel is now needed to continue refreshing other paths in the college grounds.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Cutting Down The Marginal Planting

Working together at the water's edge, Ali and Graham spent the day cutting down the marginal planting behind the weir. Having first removed the temporary, wire fencing to gain access to the planting, Graham, using the long reach hedge cutter, cut it down.

Ali, following behind Graham, raked the cut down marginals away from the edge placing it in to tonne bags for transporting to the skip.

Graham then made a second, lower cut taking the marginals to ground level. After a final rake through, a layer of wood chip mulch was applied to the area.   

Continuing To Brighten Up A Dingy Corner Behind The Linbury Building

Last year the team started a project to brighten up a dark, forgotten corner behind the Linbury Building, see blog entry 27th January and 29th January,  'Gravelling A Dingy Corner' and 'Weed Suppressing Membrane With Gravel On Top'.

On Friday, Danny and Callum started to work on the next section of the project adjoining last year's area. Weed suppressing membrane was laid over the ground, which had been sprayed with a weed killer last autumn, and pegged in place. The membrane was then cut around the drain covers and a wooden edge surround built around them.

Today the gravel arrived and was wheelbarrowed in from its delivery site, tipped over the membrane and raked level.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cutting Down The Ornamental Grasses

The ornamental grasses and perennial planting in the Serpentine Garden of the Ruskin Building have started to look untidy over the last few weeks. Using secateurs and hand shears they were carefully cut down revealing the different sized box balls and the newly emerging Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Tulip 'Spring Green' and Allium 'Purple Sensation'.    

Once the cutting down had been finished leaves, debris and weeds were removed and the border forked through.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Tidying The Canal Building Grounds

The Canal Building, located at the top end of the sports field, is where you will have found Ady, Graham, Callum, Ali and Danny today. They spent the whole day tidying the grounds around the building, pruning shrubs, removing ivy, raking out the last of the autumn leaves and renovating an overgrown beech hedge.

The beech hedge, the top of which had not been pruned for a number of years, had become too tall for such a small area so needed to be reduced. When renovating a beech hedge this is best done when dormant so from now until end of February is a suitable time. Reduced by half, and its side trimmed back, the hedge will, hopefully, be attended to annually to keep its growth in control.