The Head Gardener’s Update
I was tasked by the main donor of the water fountain project, Professor Jennifer Green, Emeritus Fellow and St Hugh’s Custos Hortulorum, with the task of finding a contemporary water feature suitable for the area outside the Bursar’s office.
There is a very similar slate sphere at Christchurch College that Jenny liked, but due to its solid construction and weight it was extremely difficult and expensive to install. I was impressed with the ease of which Jeremy Hastings’ spheres could be installed as they are made in sections, making them lighter and easier to construct. The sphere is made from reclaimed roofing slate from Cornish miners’ houses. To complement the slate, we have planted white flowering climbing roses and shrubs such as hydrangea ‘Annabelle’, Solomon’s seal, and ferns.
We are also working with estates to have a new garage constructed near the ground’s office and green house, although the main body of work is being carried out by a contractor. We are currently helping to construct a drive way so our tractor mower and ETA can gain access, I think Steve is having way too much fun on the digger!
During a visit to King’s College, Cambridge a few summers ago I was greatly impressed by their echium border (pride of madeira), and when a colleague of my mine at Trinity College had some spare seedlings I snapped them up and decided to plant them throughout our MGA borders. Benefiting from the south facing and sheltered position these impressive biennials have already put out considerable growth and I am hopeful, that they will produce their towering six-foot tall blue flower spikes for which they are famous over the summer months. Echium are also a great source of nectar and much loved by bees and other pollinators. The picture below is of the border at Kings:
We have planted a considerable amount of later flowering and tall bulbs such as Camassia, nectaroscardum and gladiolus Byzantium in front of the “stables” near west lawn, and under the row of beech trees. This should complement the existing queen of night tulips and natural growing cow parsley which always looks fantastic in early May.