Grounds and Gardens 2022 – What have we been up to so far? A whistlestop tour of our year in pictures!

Sunrise over sports field in early January

Long shadows from winter sun through winter border shrubs

Despite chill mornings in January, high winds in February, what seemed like a drought in March and April and a humungous hail storm this week in May the team in Grounds and Gardens have had a packed few months of projects and plantings!

Spring snowdrops under a blue sky

Grounds and Gardens team building a living willow hedge

Our apprentices Mark and Ben have had the full Grounds and Gardens winter weather experience and they are still with us so this bodes well! They have both had a diverse set of projects to be involved with around the team in January and February – from planting snowdrops in the green and learning to weave willow hedges, to mending storm damaged trellis, building paths and barrowing large volumes of mulch, not to mention everything else horticultural inbetween!

Narcissus obvallaris flowering in meadow in March

Fritillaries in flower in April in short grass

Pink crab apple blossom in April along a path with trees in the background

In March it was great to see the lovely Tenby daffodils Narcissus obvallaris in flower.  They were planted in November by some of our green-fingered students and were looking fantastic growing in areas around the perimeter path. Later our new fritillary bulbs Fritillaria meleagris behind the tennis courts flowered brilliantly and along with all the different cherry blossoms and the recently planted apple tree blossoms April was a fine time for a walk around the grounds!

Bright red/orange azalea in flower in April

We opened the grounds and gardens on a Sunday in late April for the NGS open gardens scheme! Over seventy visitors came on a sunny day and several of the team were here to welcome everyone. The plant of the day appeared to be our Azalea ‘Winston Churchill’ which was kindly flowering profusely in our Plant Heritage National Collection border of plants named after Sir Winston Churchill. It seemed unbelievably bright on the day and could not be missed!

This month, along with many others we’ve been suffering the effects of the box moth caterpillar on some of our box hedging. The caterpillar can strip a hedge of leaves in the blink of an eye! We have removed some of the stricken plants and we’re now looking for alternatives for future hedge planting! On a more positive note, the trees are now in full leaf, our herbaceous plantings are coming into flower and the wildflower seed mix close to Cowan court is looking good!

View through cricket stumps before a cricket match

Sports fields under dark clouds

Football and rugby have had successful seasons with around twenty five football and ten rugby fixtures on the college sports fields. The college football team reached the final of The Cuppers and the men’s rugby team reached the semi-finals of The Cuppers! We’ve entertained Churchill Ultimate Frisbee, Cambridge University Mixed Lacrosse, The University Hare and Hounds Athletics Club and the Cambridge University Bowmen. Summer sports have now commenced with the grass tennis courts up and running and regular college cricket matches underway as well as the Cavendish Cricket Club playing on Wednesday evenings through this coming term!

The Grounds and Gardens Team