Friday, 26 September 2014
The grass seed was sown on the 15th September and has been covered in horticultural fleece since. Joss has been checking under this white blanket daily to see how the seed is germinating and, now that the banks are sufficiently green, the fleece has been removed. Over the next few weeks the seed will continue to germinate and the areas of brown soil will turn green as the new grass emerges.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Areas of wildflowers have been introduced the gardens over the last few years to increase the variety of pollinating insects whose numbers, worldwide, have been steadily declining and to reintoduce wildflower species, many of which have steadily declined over the last 60 years. Last year one such area was developed in the Fellow's garden, see blog entry 26th September 2013 'Wildflowers In The Fellow's Garden', successfully creating a wildflower meadow, see blog entry 14th May 2014 'The First Wildflower 'Fairy Toadflax'.
Following its success two more areas have been created today, one in the orchard and the other on the Nuffield Lawn. The ground was prepared by mowing and scarifying the grass to reveal bare earth then this was raked to a fine tilth. The wildflower seed was mixed with silver sand, scattered over the soil, gently raked in and rolled. The seed mix contains the following wildflowers; Betony, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Bulbous Buttercup, Californian Poppy, Catsear, Cowslip, Common Knapweed, Cornflower, Fairy Toadflax, Ladys Bedstraw, Oxeye Daisy, Salad Burnet, Self Heal, Shirley Poppy, White Campion and Yellow Rattle.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Ali and Graham spent the day working by the lake creating a new border. Being very careful not to fall in, they striped the turf from the area to reveal the compacted soil.
Once all the turf had been removed they then spent the afternoon forking it through, breaking up the soil in to smaller clods then breaking them down to a fine tilth. Leaf mould will be added tomorrow, forking it in and dressing the surface. Iris sibirica 'Flight Of The Butterflies' will then be planted in the new border, an excellent waterside plant with violet blue, white veined flowers.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
For a number of years the gardeners have been making homes around the woodland areas of the college grounds in the form of log piles. Some of the wood from trees that have been cut down have been put in various sized piles to provide a habitat for small and large animals. The dead, decaying wood provide food and homes for insects and fungi who, in turn, provide food for the larger animals.
A more luxurious version of the log pile has now been built and placed in a suitable spot along the path next to the canal hedge, the gardener's first Bug Hotel. Built with old pallets, bricks, roof tiles and filled with straw, logs, pine cones, bark and old hollow stems from herbaceous plants, it provides the same habitat as the log piles but on a grand scale.
Monday, 15 September 2014
Joss and Danny spent the day working together on the banks. Their first task was to scatter a Preseed fertiliser over the soil which will provide essential nutrients for the germinating Perennial Rye Grass seed that they scattered over the fertiliser. A large board was held at the bottom and the top of the banks to prevent the seed from landing on the paths.
Once sown, horticultural fleece was carefully laid over the seed to help create the perfect conditions for it to germinate and protect it from hungry birds.
Friday, 12 September 2014
The overnight and morning temperatures have dropped so it is time to start taking cuttings from the tender plants out in the gardens. Ali collected the first few pieces from some of the plants yesterday, a few pelargonium, salvia and plectranthus to start with. This will continue next week until the mist unit is filled.
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Now that all the thatch has been removed from the quad lawn, Joss spent a few hours this morning aerating it with the 'Groundsman Turf Aerator', plunging tines into the ground to make holes in the turf allowing air, nutrients and water to reach the roots.
After he had finished the aerating Joss covered the bald patches, created by the scarifying, with top soil which were then overseeded with grass seed. An autumn/winter feed will be applied tomorrow.