16 March 2023

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As we speed into March I think it’s fair to say that the garden department are ready for Spring to Spring into action. Although technically February was a reasonably dry month and maybe a little warmer than average, it definitely didn’t feel it. The winds have been cold and the clouds have remained.

The new build, although near completion, due to many delays, is not quite ready for the garden team to complete the planting. All the mature trees and hedges are now in though and certainly give an instant impact to the buildings. Hopefully soon we can gain access to the site as we need it.

The reflective pool in South court will be the last thing to be completed and it will be nice to see the water and plants in the pool once complete.

The garden team have been working their way through the list of late winter pruning and assessing how many plants we have lost due to the heavy and prolonged cold spells towards the end of 2022. We have been busy starting to prepare for this season. Many seeds have been sown in the glasshouse as the shoots that are coming through give us hope of what is to come. We have been busy taking cuttings and potting plants on to the next size.



               Above left; Planting by the Paddock Pond; Above right; Kate soil testing; Below; Clearing Chapman's Pond 

Last week I gave a garden talk to a packed audience for the Cambridge Horticultural Society. I had been invited to give a lecture on Wildflower Gardening and How Emmanuel Manage Wildflower Meadows. The audience was packed with amateur and professional gardeners including other College Head Gardeners. It was good to share with others the experiences that people connected to the college regularly see.

At the end of February, the garden department said goodbye to gardener Jonathan Strauss. Jon has taken the next step in his career to follow a dream to become self-employed and work towards building his own business. Although the department are sad to see Jon go, we wish him well in the future. It has been a pleasure having Jon in the department. Most people will remember Jon for representing Emmanuel College in the Grand Final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition. Obviously Jon will not represent Emma this time around but we congratulate our gardener Douglas Day on reaching a place in the Regional final for the second year running.

This year’s Regional Final will be held at Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire on Saturday 25th March. The Grand Final is being held at Emmanuel College this year. It will be a privilege to host such a prestigious competition here at Emma.

The Department have successfully recruited two new gardeners who start in April. We needed to replace Jon and also Phil Bland who retired at Christmas. The department now welcome Andrew Luetchford who joins from Trinity College Cambridge and Sally Mackenna who joins from Kirtling Towers Suffolk and the University Botanical Gardens Cambridge. Both applicants bring skill and passion about horticulture to the department and we are exciting to blend then in with our already fantastic team.

Best Wishes

Brendon Sims (Head Gardener)

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