Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring: 6 things our Grounds Team are doing to get campuses ready for the new season

Spring is... well... springing around our campuses, with lots of green leaves, budding flowers and emerging wildlife making appearances. It’s also a busy time for our Grounds Team, as they spring (sorry) into action to get our campuses ready for the new season. We spoke with Grounds Manager Penny Snowden to find out what they’ve been up to.  

1. Planting trees... 

Our Newton Park campus is known for its natural beauty, including loads of different kinds of trees. And this year we added a few more.  

“This year we’ve planted 13 trees, including Field Maple, Hawthorn and Oak, at Newton Park and three at the Lower Bristol Road sportsground,” Penny said. 

2. ... and felling a few 

It may seem destructive to cut down trees, but sometimes trees become sick and need to be felled. Over the past few years, several trees on campus have been affected by Ash Die Back disease.   

“Many of the Ash trees around the lake were starting to show signs of the disease; now that they’ve been felled it gives us lots of planting opportunities to put back both native species and ornamental trees that would have been used when the grounds were created by Capability Brown,” Penny says. The team hopes to start this work in the winter. 

3. Checking bird boxes 

There are over 20 bird boxes at Newton Park, placed on the buildings and nestled in the trees around campus. Each February Penny’s team checks the boxes to record signs of use and repair or replace any broken ones.  

“This year while checking the boxes, one of the team found some owl pellets nearby, as well as evidence of several nests,” Penny says.   

With the help of the maintenance team, the grounds crew have also built a new barn owl box, which will hopefully provide a nice home for the barn owls that have been spotted in the surrounding parkland. 

"This year while checking the boxes, one of the team found some owl pellets nearby, as well as evidence of several nests”

4. Pruning and training 

With so much plant life on campus, there’s always some pruning to be done somewhere! This time of year, the team are snipping at apples, pears, peaches, the vines, and lots of roses.  

Penny says the climbing roses in the Italian Garden and Grand Entrance take quite a bit of sorting out. The team also cuts back the creeper in the Italian Garden with the help of Adrian from the maintenance team and a cherry picker. 

5. Not quite underwater basket weaving 

In February, the team start pruning the stems of the dogwoods in the Italian Garden. Their brightly coloured red and yellow stems provide some much-needed cheer around campus in winter, and when they’re pruned in the spring, Penny’s team uses the prunings to weave upside down baskets around the herbaceous plants to stop them flopping over when they’re in bloom. 

6. Rehousing reptiles 

Later in the year, BSU students will be helping to relocate the wildlife at a site near Saltford, as part of a project with Wessex Water. To prepare, the team is getting a new home – or refugia – ready for the reptiles so they can settle in. 

“It’s basically a pile of rocks, bark, logs, earth and leaf mould, covered with moss, which provides shelter for wee beasties such as snakes and slow worms,” Penny says.   

We're sure Penny and her team will give the newcomers a warm welcome.  

We’re #BathSpaProud of all the work our grounds team does. To find out more, check out their Instagram to see the fruits (and flowers and trees and insects…) of their labour!

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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