Wow! Some amazingly warm February days cheered us up no end last week in Grounds and Gardens.

The Master’s Garden

The mowers were out in force — the very lovely sight of the stripes back in the lawns — and you can see from the aerial image taken last Wednesday morning that the sports fields are looking ready for action. It was so easy to forget which month of the year we were in when we had such fantastic weather. It really didn’t feel that normal to be wearing a t-shirt in February!

Aerial View College Sports Fields

Aerial View of the College Sports Fields

Some of the team have been busy pruning apple trees in the gardens of the hostels — spending days up ladders snipping away is no mean feat but all the hard work means they are looking really good now. Let’s hope for a good crop later in the year. Work has also finished on a large section of one of the Churchill Road borders — six new black birch and a flowering cherry Prunus ‘Accolade’ have been planted, a ribbon of grasses replanted and several large trailers of college mulch added.

Pruned apple trees in the hostel gardens.

You can see the buds swelling on the Prunus ‘Tai Haku’ cherry trees already while the winter colours are still going strong – deep reds of the hellebores, firey greens and reds of the dogwoods and the oranges of the witch hazels. Have a walk by the Hepworth statue and you’ll see. You may get more than a hint of the scent of the sweet box plants while you are there – some people absolutely love it but others find it totally overpowering!

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ on the Winter Border.

Spring daffodils and crocuses are also looking gorgeous under the Churchill Oak on the main lawn.

Crocus under the Churchill Oak.

Last week we took delivery of some wonderful new plants that’ll be heading up for the new landscaping area at the top of the site – one of our favourites is the ruby-red shiny-leaved Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ — planting should be starting in the next few weeks so watch this space…..

Our orchids have also been basking in heady tropical temperatures — one day last week the greenhouse reached 29 °C — so we’ve been making sure there’s plenty of humidity in there with frequent damping down with the hose. This is such a beautiful orchid that came into flower a couple of days ago – Coelogyne intermedia.

Coelogyne intermedia from our orchid collection.

We really don’t know what the weather will be doing from day to day  – and this is part of the challenge – but all that sun was a little boost to see us through to the end of February!

— Grounds & Garden team