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Garden News February

Snowdrops in the gardens at Univ

Snowdrops (Galanthus sp.)

Welcome to the first of a series of regular updates on the gardens of Univ. As I write this some wonderful winter sunshine is coming through the Garden Shed windows, nothing better to encourage a wander through the gardens…

Heralding the start of the “Garden Year” Snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) are blooming throughout College as are Hellebores and Winter Aconites. The light also shows of to great effect the leafless skeletons of the mature trees around College, the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in the Fellows Garden is looking particularly impressive, as is the group of Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis var.jacquemontii) in the Masters Garden.

Univ College Oxford Garden Feb 18

Himalayan Birch (Betula utilis var.jacquemontii)

The Garden Team will be pruning the Wisteria in both Quads this month in readiness for that delightful display of scented blue flowers they produce in late spring and early summer (and often beyond.)

The grass will be given one cut this month too to neaten the look of the lawn, and, to make it look even tidier, the edges will be clipped and where necessary a half moon edging tool will be used. They will also benefit from an application of a “Winter Feed” containing low or no nitrogen.

Univ College Oxford Garden Feb 18

Univ’s “Bug Hotel”

The garden to the south of the Library which was redesigned last year into a “Wildlife friendly garden” is starting to mature, early flowers in the garden include Cyclamen and in one of the beds next to the Library the wonderfully honey scented Edgeworthia chrysantha is about to burst into bloom. A “Bug Hotel” which has a “green roof” has been added which is being maintained by the Garden Apprentices. Over the next few months bird feeders and solitary bee homes will be added to the area to further increase its biodiversity. Also, you may recall that the College now has its own colony of Honey Bees (hives in the Masters Garden!) As a means of education into the life (and work) of a bee there will be an “Educational Hive” placed in the Wildlife Garden, please feel free to open it up and look at its contents, but please leave it as you found it when you have finished.

Univ College Oxford Garden Feb 18

Cypress Oak (Quercus robur f.fastigiata)

Plant of the Month
As I have been talking about the area to the south of the Library, I will pick this month one of my favourite “small” trees Quercus robur f.fastigiata the Cypress Oak; a tree of narrow, fastigiated habit, quite unlike the usual English Oak (of which this variety is a form of.) It is said that nearly 300 different species of insect live on an Oak so it’s an ideal subject for the “Wildlife Garden.”

There are many improvement to the gardens that are planned to take place over the next couple of years, details of those will be mentioned from time to time though these articles.

Bruce Taylor, Head Gardener

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