Monday, 28 September 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Privet Hedge

The privet hedge in the car park is cut two to three times a year and today was the final time for 2015. However, Simon and Danny decided to make a few changes to the usual wavey design and create a shape based on the popular childrens book  'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. Tapering the end to create a tail, cutting a hole for an eye and removing a small section for the mouth the caterpillar soon emerged, only this one will not turn in to a butterfly! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Making Use Of The Scaffolding

July 2015

The Rose, Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' was pruned in July after it had finished flowering, see blog entry 17th July 'FromThe Top Of A Long Ladder'. Due to the height of the rose it is a two man job, one working a the top of the long ladder whilst the other foots the ladder.

As the scaffolding is in place for the next two to three weeks it is the ideal opportunity to make use of it. Leaving the long ladder in the shed, Ali used the scaffolding ladder to get up on to the platform to prune the long, untidy stems of the banksiae that had grown since July. Further use will also be made of this safe platform to put up and replace the wires on the wall of the cottages that support the climbers.   

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea' Behind The Scaffolding

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

'A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place'

'A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place'

The project that began on the 24th August to improve one of the tool sheds went in to its final two days this week. The left hand wall contains the new louvre panel racking system and the old shelving unit leaving the far end and left hand wall to be filled with tools.

New long, black steel storage hooks, Rothley spring loaded clips and double tool stoarge hooks were screwed in to the walls for all the tools. The final task to label them all, there is now a place for everything and everything in its place.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Stihl HSA 86 Cordless Hedge Trimmer

The 33 box balls in the borders of the Ruskin Building quad were cut today using the new Stihl HSA 86 cordless hedge trimmer. In previous years, as well as using hand shears, the box was first cut using a Stihl petrol hedge trimmer which was heavy, noisy and in need of several refuels. This new hedge trimmer is lighter, much quieter and the battery lasted for the entire duration of the task. Its low running noise is perfect for the college environment, particularly when cutting these box balls as they are situated next a meeting room which is regularly in use. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A New And Improved Way To Scarify The Quad Lawn

Scarifying, The New Way

The autumn lawn maintenance programme began in the quad on Monday. The Dennis mower, with the scarifying cartridge installed, was used to rip out the thatch that has built up since last September but, unlike previous years, the ride-on Iseki mower was used to cut the grass and collect the removed thatch. The Allett cylinder mower had been used in the past in conjunction with the Dennis mower, but this process of scarifying and cutting resulted in having to empty both of the mowers collecting boxes a vast amount of times. This new method, using the Dennis without its collecting box, results in the thatch falling back on to the grass which is then collected up by the ride-on mower. The high speed rotation of the two synchronised blades throw the grass through to the rear mounted low-dump collecting box removing the need to empty the heavy, awkward, thatch filled boxes in to tonne bags.

Scarifying With The Dennis

The scarifying continued on Tuesday and, once completed, Joss aerated the turf using the 'Groundsman Turf Aerator' which plunges tines into it, making holes for air, nutrients and water to reach the roots.

Aerating With The Groundsman Turf Aerator

Broadcasting The Grass Seed

The final phase of the maintenance programme was completed today, overseeding and feeding. Grass seed was broadcast across the quad to cover the newly created bare patches, a result of the scarifying. Lastly ProTurf 12.5.20, a controlled release fertiliser, was applied to the turf using the Allen Spreadmaster.

Applying Fertiliser With The Allen Spreadmaster

Rain in now needed to wash the fertiliser in and turn the grass a luxurious green again, here's hoping!

Grass Seed And Fertiliser
The Lawn

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Pinching Out The Wallflowers

Four weeks ago the 720 small wallflower plug plants were planted out in to their individual pots, see blog entry for the 20th August 'Wallflower Treasure Primrose and Sunset White'. As the month of October moves ever closer, the month in which the team will start to plant these plants out in to the college borders and containers, it is time to pinch the growing tips out to encourage bushier growth. With such a large number of plants requiring this treatment, Ali soon gave up pinching out the growing tip of each stem between her thumb and forefinger changing over to her secateurs. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Scaffolding, A Huge Structure Dwarfing The Border Below

Herbaceous border

The herbaceous border is turning in to its autumn phase with the warm, earthy colours becoming more dominant. 

Plants Covering The Path

However, the border is in need of some adjustments due to the arrival of a large amount of scaffolding that will be erected behind it. Last week, 3rd September, in preparation for the scaffolding, an access route had to be created through the border by removing the plants that had grown over the path. 

Plants Removed And The Path Is Revealed

The Path At The Rear Is Emerging

Once behind the border Ali, Kieron and Simon continued to cut back the perennials at the rear as well as reducing the depth of the wisteria on the wall and removing it from around the windows. 

A Clear Path

Before The Scaffolding
On Friday the scaffolding finally began to be erected with a further two access paths having to be cut through the border.

Scaffolding Over The Clear Path

By Saturday afternoon the erecting of the scaffolding had been completed, a huge structure dwarfing the border below. It will remain in place for the next two to three weeks as all the window frames and gables are repaired and then painted.