26 March 2024

Blank image

As I write this blog entry, it is a beautiful Spring morning. The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in sight. The morning is fresh, but the sunlight lifts the soul. The apricity of the sun against your face seems to make a job in gardening worthwhile.

This has not, however, been the case for the whole month that has preceded it. We have been battling the cold, grey skies and the plentiful rain. It certainly has been a challenge. Hopefully the weather will start to improve with a spell of dry weather forecast.

In the College gardens we have been busy all the same. March has been the time for many of the seasonal tasks, including pruning the shrubs grown for their winter stems, hard pruning of the buddleias, mulching of the beds and keeping on top of the early growth of grass.

The team have also been busy repairing damaged areas around the swimming pool. The grounds had been messed up a little from the construction work to the pool. It was a good opportunity to put things right.

We replaced some of the wooden path edges, laid some additional paving and graded some topsoil ready for grass seeding. Finally, we top dressed the gravel paths to bring the project together. The pool still must be relined when the weather improves but the areas surrounding it at least now look neater.

Around the grounds, the spring bulbs are in full effect, the Paddock is being framed by the daffodils and the successional bulbs under the oriental plane tree in the Fellows' Garden look amazing.

The magnolia in the Jester Garden is looking its striking best at present.

It’s well worth a look before the magnificent pale, pink flowers drop due to a heavy frost or a stormy night.

Earlier this month, I was delighted to welcome former alumnus and celebrity gardener, Charles Dowding, back to the College. I had arranged for Charles to spend a day and an evening with us, passing on his vast experience of his now world famous ‘no-dig’ philosophy.

Charles gave us a masterclass practical demonstration in the afternoon and valuable advice on our existing compost systems. For the masterclass, we were joined by many of the other colleges' Garden Departments. It was great to share this experience with many in our university garden community.

In the evening, Charles gave a talk to a packed audience in the Queen's Building Lecture Theatre. It was great to be part of this event and the feedback from the audience was very well received.

I had the pleasure of dining with Charles at High Table in the evening and it was another chance to pick his brains. Altogether a fantastic experience for the Garden Department.

Best wishes.

Brendon Sims, Head Gardener

Back to All Blog Posts