16 June 2022

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As we officially enter the summer it seems that the weather hasn’t quite got the memo! The end of May, and beginning of June, has seen some heavy rain, much–needed from our very dry early spring warmth. It has resulted in an explosion of growth from the plants in the borders, and genuinely things are looking good around the college grounds, after a slow start to get growing.

It is a tricky period for the gardeners, as we try to juggle the upkeep of the grounds to the highest standard possible, whilst not being able to make much noise due to the exam periods that require quiet throughout the day.


                                                                          Above: Window Box in Front Court 

As a department we are trying our best, and as technology allows, and as we replace our machines, we are buying battery–operated alternatives that are much, much quieter to use. This week has even seen us take delivery of an all–electric lawn tractor.


                                                                               Above: Theo driving the new tractor

At Emmanuel we care very much about the environment, and made a pledge to use much cleaner energy than the old noisy petrol alternatives. This is a sign that we are putting the welfare and health of our students and staff as a priority as we enter this stage of the 2020s. The next aim is to get the gardens looking as good as possible for the impending May Ball. An event that I am still yet to see, as it has been cancelled in recent years. With many garden parties and garden tours to organize, it really makes you appreciate how important the Emmanuel green spaces are to the College. We are busy maintaining the windowboxes, the new Social Hub & café—Fiona’s—indoor plants, encouraging the flower meadows and maintaining our fine lawns. We are still working with the students' Green Ducks Society to work with encouraging wildlife, and also looking to the future as I meet with Architects and Landscape Architects for the new build and its new spaces.


                                                   (L): Oriental Plane Tree & (R) Jester—Credit: Jon Shipp (Porter)

Occasionally, the gardens get the recognition they deserve. The gardens were nominated to take part in an official RHS event as an 'unforgettable garden'. In the 1920’s, two American students travelled the length and breadth of the UK, visiting some of the country’s best gardens. Emmanuel College was one of those visited and recorded. The RHS exhibition tracks the journey of these two cyclists, and looks into the history and present day of the same gardens. Emmanuel’s gardens were nominated by the Cambridge Gardens Trust, and as a result, we were invited to take part in the exhibition. The online exhibition is taking place from Wednesday 8 June from the RHS Lindley Library. It will be covered in the official RHS magazine,s and also from local and national press. This is an enormous coup for the College and the garden department, and will be seen worldwide. I continue to be extremely proud of my gardening staff, and it is nice they will get some recognition as Emmanuel’s unforgettable garden.

Brendon Sims (Head Gardener)

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