30 November 2023

Blank image

The garden team have endured an extremely wet and mild autumn so far.  The mild temperatures have meant that the leaves are still hanging on the trees, meaning that the team are playing catch-up this year.  

Leaf clearing is always the biggest task of the year for the team; it usually takes about three months of solid clearing to get the job done.  Many leaves that we collect are then composted on site.  The ability to be able to compost debris is a fantastic way of gardening sustainably.  The more we compost on site means the less we must pay to be taken off site.  The more composting we do, the less compost we must buy later.

The garden team can produce our own blend of compost to be used in the greenhouse for growing our plants and seedlings.  We can also produce enough compost to dig back into the borders and to use as a mulch to feed our trees with.  In turn, this reduces the need for artificial fertilisers and gives us a much more organic approach to gardening.  Are the months of hard work worth it?  We think so.

The beauty, though, of working in the gardens at this time of year is the wonderful autumn colours of the leaves.  On a clear and sunny day, the leaf colours pop.  The ginkgo tree in the Fellows’ Garden gives off a wonderful golden hue in the late afternoon sunshine.  This is something that I can see daily from my office daily.  What a treat!

Other areas of beauty include Chapman’s Garden.  The colours from the Dawn Redwood, the tulip tree and the sweet gum tree looked magnificent.  The Oriental plane tree in the Fellows’ Garden is always the last to fall.  We will still be clearing the leaves on that right up to Christmas, and maybe beyond.

The Head Groundsman at the sports ground, along with myself, took delivery of a new piece of machinery recently.  The college purchased a new Verti drainer to enable us to aerate all the college grounds and lawns.  This should help improve the drainage and allow for better grass root growth in general.  This is something that will hopefully help us return tennis to the paddock in the future.

Other jobs over the past month have included bulb planting, with additional shrub planting under the walnut tree by the library entrance.  As a result of less traffic in the library car park, we were able to plant extra plants to tidy the area, hopefully without being driven over.  This was the case in the past and hopefully the plants can correctly establish this time around.

The main project on my mind now, though, is drawing up some plans for the proposed Community Garden at the rear gardens in Park Terrace.  We are very much at the early stage of this project, which will enable students, Fellows and staff the opportunity to have a space to garden within the grounds for general well-being.  Watch this space for more details in 2024.

Best wishes.

Brendon Sims, Head Gardener

Back to All Blog Posts