Worcester College Gardens

Jul 17, 2019 - POSTED BY Monique Halloran - Whats Hot

As you first enter Worcester College your eye is drawn to the magnificent building and the simplicity of the garden this building looks out onto.  Worcester College was founded in 1714, but there has been an institution of learning on the site since the late 13th century. Its predecessor, Gloucester College had been on the same site since the late 13th century until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, according to Wikipedia. One of the things that struck me in particular were the sloping grass borders –something I have never seen before.  They are so neat that at first I thought that they were not real grass, but on closer inspection they are definitely real, just beautifully maintained! The third picture shows one of the beautiful windows in another part of the college, surrounded by climbers, and with a stunning Hydrangea in full bloom now.

The next photo shows an enticing stone arch that beckons you through to another part of the gardens. You will find beautiful, mass planted borders full of herbaceous colour, such as the Nepeta Six Hills Giant, Eremurus and Echinacea flowers in photo 5.  Such an abundance of plants cannot fail to make one smile!  In other parts of the gardens the planting design changes to incorporate exotic palm trees set against the purple leaves of a maple tree, like you will see in Photo 6..  I understand that the planting in the gardens have won lots of awards, including the Oxford in Bloom College Award.  The gardens are believed to have been designed by Richard Greswell in 1827, but I think that the planting has most probably evolved over the years, to the wonderful diversity of styles that you can enjoy now.  Worcester College Gardens are open most days between 2 and 4 pm and are definitely worth a visit!

Further away from the main college building you will come across this peaceful stream leading to a lake, and you cannot believe you are in the very centre of Oxford.  It feels like you are in the middle of the countryside!  As described in Wikipedia ‘Although Worcester College is near the centre of Oxford today, it was on the edge of the city in the eighteenth century. This has proved a benefit in the long run, since it has allowed the college to retain very extensive gardens and, uniquely among Oxford colleges, contiguous playing fields (a total of 26 acres (110,000 m2), including a lake)’.