Virginia Barton

Honorary OUS Gardener’s Notes, April-May 1991

Entries in the Oxford Union Society Garden Journal


3 April 1991
Am thinking of getting a shredder for the garden so as to make decent compost. With the kitchen waste too it could be really good. The trouble is they’d be bound to put plastic etc. in it.

Need another laurel (one died), lots of begonias and some “fillers”. Most of all I need a better grass carer. Or more paving. Still no railings in courtyard or an estimate or drawing for paving there. But I’m pleased as a whole.


25 April 1991
Have spent 3 or 4 half days in the garden this month and it’s looking good. The flowering trees in the Big Bed are gorgeous, best year ever. Looks especially good from St. Michael’s Street.

Litter problem is much improved – 2 glasses and some citrus peel today! Chris has mown twice – hope Tim will mow today or tomorrow. Lost all the geraniums from 2 years ago so chamber bed looks very empty. No point in planting it up as they’ll do the building next year.

Still trying to dig in poor old Jock. Mrs. Stoke has given a garden seat in memory of her husband (it’s yet to be delivered) – I was the last person at the OUS to speak to him before he collapsed and died. We’ll have a plaque made for it. So kind.

And a Mr. Thomas left £3 after a recent reception as he wants to be on the Vividiarium!


Garden last


9 May 1991 (Ascension Day)

First really warm and sunny day for ages, so spent about 3 hours gardening. Dug over courtyard beds and sprinkled phostrogen and tied up cotoneaster. Did 2 little beds under bar windows and tied up acanthus and pyracantha. Then tidied up Steward’s house beds (red rose huge, trying to finish off vine) and started on front of big bed where bulbs have finished.

Hordes of young persons in the garden eating lunch, but pretty tidy. Begonias and other bedders ordered for 15th, need 20 snapdragons, red and white.

The blossom was breathtaking this year — only the magnolia got caught by frost, rain and gale.


17 May 1991 (last entry)
Went in today to plant bedders — 6 dozen variegated begonias, 1 dozen white petunias, 1 dozen Oxford blue lobelia, ½ dozen red and white geraniums. Am still short of a few odd ones to fill chamber bed but may not bother. Also want a trailing geranium for pot in courtyard and maybe one or two odd specials – herbaceous – to tuck in.

Zelman’s white peony is fantastic, 2 flowers (no camera today) like bunches of silk! Several noticed it.

The place crawling with plain clothes men as Kenneth Baker was speaking at 1:30 and Leon Brittan later on. I told them they should search my bags as I could easily be a subversive gardener, but they were more interested in litter bins.

A fine drizzle all morning – hurray – ground very dry when you dig down.

Frank B. sent in drawings for courtyard – too many beds and not enough paving I feel. Very nice tho’, will have to meet up with him.

Douglas and Pensis H. very admiring – “it’s a credit to you” – and I must say it does look jolly nice just now.

The Daniels rose bed suffers from being so near the bins, but the poor roses struggle on somehow. Spirea by Steward’s house is just lovely. Maybe dahlias would be jolly? Simon H. promised a tree hollyhock (? Lavateria) – we shall see.

Simon Hughes who interviewed me a while back is doing finals next week. How time flies!





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