14 July 2022

Blank image

This last month has seen a very busy period for the Emmanuel College garden team. It has been a pressured few weeks of garden party after garden party, May Ball and graduations. This is where our focus has been and continues into July and beyond.

June was a tricky month navigating the management of the gardens through the noise restricted exam periods but with the introduction of our battery equipment and careful management I believe we did well keeping the noise to a minimum whilst trying our best to maintain a very high standard. Our standard levels are very important to us and we tried hard to get the gardens looking as best as possible for the May Ball. As gardeners we wanted the college gardens to be the boast of the May Balls, with many student’s fellows and guests in attendance. I hope we did you proud. 


                                                                  Above; May Ball set up in Front Court 

With the preparation of the May Ball, there also comes the aftermath. The lawns took a particular bashing with the placement of attractions and the footfall of hundreds of feet, including stilettos. The garden team set to work quickly to repair the front court lawns in particular. The front court lawns were fertilized with organic lawn feed the very next day, and a brief watering regime soon bought the lawn to looking something like its best in time for the graduation in a weeks’ time, to make those memorable graduation photos look great. The photos will remain in peoples living rooms for years to come, so it’s important that the garden team, take particular pride in this task.


                           Above Left; Repairs to Front Court Lawn; Above Right; Front Court Lawn after the repairs 

Now that student season is beyond us, we turn our attention to keeping the grounds tip top for summer school and wedding seasons, working closely with the conference management team. This month has seen the traditional clipping of the geometric box hedges in New Court. This is a task we take our time over to perfect. The job is done by hand with shears and string lines. A task that takes around three days to complete.

The box hedges in general across the UK are under attack from box moth caterpillar and box blight. They are general a dying species of plant. I fear that in twenty years there will be no box plants in the UK anymore. To help prolong the hedge life and vigor, we do all we can. We clip the hedges using super sharpened shears, dip the shears regularly in biological cleaner to help with sterilization, clear all the debris and dispose of them with care, foliar feed with organic liquid feed, and finally spray with organic insecticide. All in all, extremely hard work but actually, horticultural practice at its finest. Elsewhere on site, we have lost some box plants, along with most gardens in the UK.


                                                                           Above: Box Hedges in New Court 

The garden department also continue our biodiversity drive working closely with the Emma Green Ducks Society. Together we have installed a bug hotel using recycled equipment. The garden department also continue with a composting regime and wormery that has seen us re-use garden waste and start being used as our organic compost for our greenhouse, reducing buying in and saving plastics, and saving the environment by committing to peat free products.

Best wishes

Brendon Sims (Head Gardener)

Back to All Blog Posts