The College is very fortunate to be located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by diverse plant life and wildlife. The responsibility, as custodians of this land, is one the College takes seriously, and this year, the Gardening team has embarked on a new approach to this stewardship.
Across the campus, certain sites have been marked with a green heart to show areas where we not only continue to look after our existing wildlife, but also are actively encouraging greater biodiversity within the College.
Driven in part by the changing climate conditions we are witnessing, this new approach will see the gardners take their cues from nature and use these to guide many of our working practices.
Some of these cues can already be seen around the grounds. Some of the lime trees are showing signs of stress, for example, so will not undergo their annual pruning to give them a longer chance to recover.
Across the grounds, seed heads will be left to fall off - or be collected by birds - and herbaceous plants will be allowed to compost completely in the borders, until new growth appears, giving plants and insects protection.
To attract wildlife in to the College, fallen branches and twigs are being used to build logs piles for creatures, not only for protection, but as a place to call home. Other materials that would have been discarded previously, are now left in places accessible to birds to use as bedding. Bug hotels and bird feeders have also been placed around the campus.
Vegetation and fallen leaves will also be left to provide shelter and food for over wintering insects.
For plants and trees where cutting and pruning is suitable, the removed material is now being composted and reused wherever possible. For example, lime tree cuttings are now being used as dead hedges for wildlife in the Warden’s Garden. Similarly, the prunings of the 123-year-old wisteria and nearby trees are now being used for a new dead hedge built on the Maze Lawn.
Where these cuttings would have previously been disposed of off-site, they are now chipped, left to degrade and finally sieved to create compost that is used across the grounds to facilitate new plant growth, improve soil quality, while also reducing our garden waste and carbon footprint. Five compost bins have been built across the campus, with more planned for the future.
The Gardening team will continue to add green heart sites throughout the year and beyond.
28th February 2023
A team of Sixth Form pupils has been selected as Earth Prize Finalists in the 2023 global competition.
21st February 2023
In mid-February, pupils and staff planted 480 trees, including rare species, to complete Winchester College's first carbon offset and tree-planting program.
21st February 2023
Our annual Primary Schools Day returned this February, when pupils from Stanmore Primary School visited the College for a day of activities around food and sustainability.
5th February 2023
On Tuesday 31 January, two of the most significant and influential figures involved in nature recovery, Sir Charles Burrell and Mr Derek Gow, spoke to pupils, parents, dons and Friends of Winchester College about rewilding, regenerative farming and ecology.
6th June 2022
After forty years caring for the grounds of Winchester College, Head Groundsman Kim Larcombe is retiring to spend more time with his family.
5th June 2022
In May, the College opened its gardens to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme.