Virginia Barton

Honorary OUS Gardener’s Notes, May-June 1987


Entries in the Oxford Union Society Garden Journal


9 May 1987
Luckily I got 2 hours in the garden today as Chris had forgotten to water (of course) tho’ he made up for it by humping water for me.

Planted Ted Heath’s Corylus contorta near the entrance from St. Michael St. behind the laurel hedge. Then put in the S. Berberis given by Roy Jenkins, on the left side of the big bed.

Extremely dry so watered as much as possible and hope I’ve saved at least some of the acanthus. Garden looking pretty good on the whole.

“Dove’s dung” (Star of Bethlehem given by Jeremy) about to flower! So exciting! The plants from Dalemain doing specially well. Planted honesty and Japanese poppy seeds (brought from Tokyo) at home in seed tray, alongside 10 begonias.




11 May 1987
Found 2 branches snapped off Ted Heath’s Corylus contorta and the lawn still not mown and mower broken, Left in deep depression.


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18 May 1987
Lots and lots of rain and very cold, almost frosty nights. Only one hour in the rain tying up peonies, bunching old daffodils etc. Most of the acanthus seems to have survived  and all the geraniums.

Ted Heath’s tree missing yet another branch but Roy Jenkins’ berberis fine. Sweet letter from Lord Goodman beginning “Alas! Penury has struck.”

Considering how little time I’m there the garden is looking pretty nice.


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10 June 1987 
Pre-election day visit. In fact I’ve “popped” in several times since I last wrote but only for an hour or less mainly due to appalling weather.

Today got the last of the wallflowers our and planted up the 3 formal beds with sunrise bedders. Andrew plying new mower (not frequently enough). We got a hover as it’s easier but it does pick up the grass. He’s very good about edging. Weeds rampant – so much rain! Climbing roses on railing vis a vis BNC really blooming well – and if they were fed! Some good photos of spring blossom.

Rain (and students) have done a bit of damage but all in all, OK. Hope to get back in a day or two to finish planting. Joe M donated a camellia in memory of his mother, but it’ll have to wait till September.


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12 June 1987

Put in 3 solid hours in sunshine stopping only 5 minutes for coffee! Got everything finished including oak tub – “sulphur spray” conifer and my begonias. Placed it on Chamber buttress hoping people won’t spoil it. Really hard work but rewarding.

All but finished except for patch in front of the Printing House. Not quite enough bedding plants to fill but next year should have more shrubs so less plants should be needed. Well within £100 budget thank goodness.

Lady Manders’ plants doing well, also Roy’s berberis but Ted’s tree is taking quite a beating near the gate.

Place full of language students so noise excessive! But it’s looking pretty good and the shrub roses are lovely.




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