Friday, 19 August 2016

Pricking Out And Pot Washing

Seed Trays Full Of Seedlings
An unseasonal low pressure front affected today's weather resulting in a day of rain and, therefore,  wet weather jobs for the garden team. Tidying tool sheds, vehicle maintenance, greenhouse work and pot washing, all jobs suitable for keeping dry.

Pricking Out
The greenhouse work consisted of pricking out some of the trays of seedlings, seeds that were sown last month, see blog entry 15th July 2016 'Eleven Half Trays And Six Shallow Pots'. Eight of the eleven half trays of seeds have grown sufficiently, the first pair of true leaves have emerged so are ready for pricking out. Using the tapered end of the plant label, the tiny seedlings were gently eased out of the seed compost, holding them by the seed leaves and transplanting them in to individual pots of multipurpose compost. Placed in to trays the seedlings were taken in to the much cooler Peach Glasshouse where they will remain until it is time to re pot them all in to the next size pots.

Sweet William Seedlings
The seedlings pricked out today were Matthiola incana 'Pillow Talk' (Stocks), Dianthus barbatus 'Bouquet Rose Magic' (Sweet William), Wallflower 'Sunset Primrose', 'Sunset Orange' and 'Sunset Bronze', Schizanthus x wisetonensis 'Dr Badger's Mix and 'Angel's Wings Mix' (Butterfly Flower) and Lupinus polyphyllus 'Noble Maiden' (Lupin).

Once the pricking out was complete it was time to start preparing for the cuttings that will be taken in September, the requirement, clean shallow pots. With a trug full of warm soapy water, a bucket of cold water and a cloth each pot was washed, rinsed and left to dry over the weekend. A stack of five dozen pots are now ready for the hundreds of cuttings that will soon accommodate them.  

Washed Pots

Friday, 12 August 2016

Swan Rescue Update

The blog entry for Monday 25th July 2016 has now been updated with regard to one of the resident pair of swans that had to be rescued by the RSPCA and taken to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital for assessment. Click on the following link: SWAN RESCUE

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Three Trays Of Wallflower Plug Plants

Three Trays Of Wallflowers

With a 'Spanish Plume' weather front forecast to arrive next week bringing warmer weather it didn't seem quite right to the team to be potting up the winter bedding plants. Three trays of wallflower plug plants arrived yesterday from Ball Colegrave, 230 x 3 total 690 plants, all needing to be potted up in to their own individual pots.

Wallflower Plug Plant Tray

Three varieties have been chosen for the displays around the college gardens, 'Sunset Purple', 'Sunset Orange' and 'Sunset Yellow' which will be planted out during the end of May to first few weeks of June depending on the frost risk.

Potting Up

Working on one tray at a time the tiny plugs were gently pushed out of their cells and planted in to small pots of multipurpose compost.

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The newly potted plug plants were placed outside in the cold frames where they will remain until planting out time, although they will be potted up in to the next sized pots at some point in the future before they become pot bound and, as they get larger, their growing tips pinched out to make them more bushy plants. 

Potted Up Wallflowers In The Cold Frames

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Five Months In The Life Of The New Wildflower Meadow

Tulips, 29th April 2016

The development of the the long grass, bulb and wildflower area at the far end of the Provost's garden began in mid October last year. The large area of grass was scarified in preparation for the planting of the bulbs and wildflowers a few weeks later, see blog entries 14th October 2015 '600 Tulips, 500 Allium and 100 Camassia' and 13th November 2015 'Planting Wildflower Plug Plants', and has now had its first cut down at the end of its season.

Tulips and Camassia, 10th May 2016

First to emerge were the many hundred tulip bulbs providing a vibrant, colourful display in April and May. More colour joined the display, large spikes of blue from the camassia and purple of the snakeshead fritillary, the first of the wildflowers to appear were the delicate, yellow cowslip.

Cowslip, 10th May 2016

Fritillaria meleagris (snakeshead fritillary), 10th May 2016

Allium, 31st May 2016

As the tulips and camassia faded the spherical heads of the allium took over providing a splash of purple seemingly floating above the long grass.

Ragged Robin, 31st May 2016
Towards the end of May to early June there was also a change amongst the wildflower planting, the yellow was now provided by the meadow buttercups and the bright centre of the Oxeye Daisy with the Ragged Robin and Meadow Cranesbill providing the pastel colours.  

Meadow Cranesbill (Geranium), 31st May 2016

Oxeye Daisy, 31st May 2016

Allium, Ragged Robin and Meadow Buttercups, 8th June 2016

 Field Scabious 22nd July 2015

The bluish-lilac flowers of the field scabious were the last wildflower to make an appearance, blooming after all the others had faded.

Flail Cutting

During all the various floral displays the grass had continued to grow and had started to collapse. The decision was made to cut the grass down using the flail attachment on the small Iseki ride-on mower, this would allow the cut grass and yellow rattle seed to drop and settle before the grass is eventually collected and taken away to the compost heap. 

The team are quite happy with the first year's display but, in order to make improvements, more bulbs and wildflowers will be added this autumn.
Flail Cut Area

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Views Of The Quad Lawn From The Roof Top And Ground Level

Joss has now been cutting the triple width curves in to the quad lawn since the 20th May, see blog entry 'Using Pythagoras Theorem To Create The New Lawn Pattern', and this pattern has now well and truly bedded in. Taking advantage of work being undertaken on the roof, Ali gave her camera to to the workmen to take a few photographs of the quad, a view not seen too often by anyone.

Content to have her feet remain on the ground Ali took some photographs at ground level. From both elevations the lush green curved stripes of the quad lawn looks absolutely stunning!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Lavatera trimestris 'Dwarf Pink Blush'

Border Display

Every year a plant chosen from one of the seed catalogues the gardener's use to purchase seeds from surpasses all expectations when in flower, last year it was Cosmos bipinnatus 'Double Click Cranberries', this year that plant is Lavatera trimestris 'Dward Pink Blush'(Mallow). Chosen from the brief description in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue and, having found that a previously grown cultivar 'Loveliness Mixed' was too tall, it was purchased for its shorter height, 60cm as against 120cm.

Catalogue Description "A unique dwarf variety bearing abundant white flowers with pink striations 2ft (60cm)"

Lavatera trimestris 'Dwarf Pink Blush'

However it is not only the height that has won the team over but its beautiful floral display. Flowering since late June, these dwarf, bushy plants have produced a mass of cup shaped flowers, white to pink in colour with pink veins and dark pink/crimson centres. Last year's favourite has been grown again and sits well in the border with this wonderful new discovery, watch out for them both next year along with a new, seed grown plant yet to be found amongst the pages of the seed catalogues.   

Continus coggygria 'Royal Purple' with Lavatera trimestris  'Dwarf Pink Blush'

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Wildflower Strip

Wildflower Strip

At the beginning of the year the team began a project to clear large shrubs from an area on the north side to the sports field culminating in the sowing of wildflower seed in May, see blog entry for the 5th May 2016 'Creating A Wildflower Strip'.

The seed mix 'Colour Splash 3 New Wave' germinated well and has resulted in a very colourful display of wildflowers, a great result for its first year and only three months since sowing! The flowers creating this lovely splash of colour are:
  • Cornflower - Centaurea Cyanus
  • Sensation Cosmos Bipinnatus - Cosmos Bipinnatus
  • Cosmos Sulphureus - Cosmos Sulphureus
  • Garden Chrysanthemum - Chrysanthemum
  • Coreopsis Tinctoria - Coreopsis Tinctoria
  • Tithonia - Tithonia speciosa
  • California Zinnia - Zinnia elegans
Views From The Wildflower Strip To The Pavillion