From the Superintendent's desk

This is the third in our series of blog posts documenting the various activities and changes happening in the University Parks. These posts aim to give visitors an insight into what it is we do. It will highlight upcoming events and points of interest that you just may have missed.

Spring is advancing in the Hayrick Border

Following major works in late February, it is now possible to walk along the back of the Hayrick border. Bulbs, in the newly cleared borders, are following in quick succession now. Tulips are the most prolific in the Hayrick at present with crown imperials also featuring prominently because they are so striking in appearance. There is a wide range of colours visible in the border. Interestingly, the only colour that you will not come across in a tulip is blue. This is despite attempts by geneticists and botanists to develop a blue tulip over the centuries. You can also find smatterings of the last daffodils near the South Lodge entrance, where the air is sweet with the fragrance of hyacinths.

Crown imperials

Crown Imperials

Timothy Ball

In Cox's Corner

On the banks of the river Cherwell, in the south eastern corner of the of the park is Cox’s Corner. Scillas are now in bloom, offering a glimpse of the colour to be seen in the coming months. As the season progresses, you can expect to see salvias and irises come out Fewer people wander down to this part of the Parks, and it is well worth the walk. Elsewhere in the Parks it is worth looking for the drifts of late daffodils, grape hyacinths and wood anemones.

Scillas and chinodoxa at Cox's corner

Scillas and Chinodoxa at Cox’s Corner


Beyond the Parks: Works at Jesus College

The Parks team is currently working on a project at Jesus College where we carry out maintenance regularly to keep quadrangles and other common areas looking tidy.

The Jesus College works involved stripping out the leggy overmature perimeter planting in the First Quad, replacing all the soil and replanting it. The planting design was guided by the principles of sustainability and biodiversity, although it is also important to the College that the gardens are attractive and photogenic all year round. The planting scheme is intended to be soft in form and in colour, including purple, pinks, white and pale yellow. While darker colours tend to recede, paler colours emerge, lightening the quadrangle without clamouring for attention against the detailing of the beautiful stone façades.

Borders stripped and fresh top soil compost mix laid at Jesus College

Borders stripped and fresh top soil-compost mix laid

Celeste Forest-Johnson

Pots of new plants laid out at Jesus College

Pots of new plants laid out

Celeste Forest-Johnson

Staff at working planting at Jesus College

Staff at work planting

Celeste Forest-Johnson

Sports in the Parks
University American Football pitch

University American football pitch

With more clement weather approaching, the cricket season is due to start this month. There is a confirmed match between Oxford Blues Men facing Durham on the 19 April, weather permitting! It is a great time to come to the Parks, perhaps enjoy a picnic and soak in the atmosphere. Further fixture dates will be made available as they are confirmed. 

As well as cricket, American football comes to the parks with the inaugural varsity match against Cambridge on 13 May. This will take place on the new, purpose made pitch, created by a process of compacting and building up the soil to elevate it from the surrounding areas.

Tennis and croquet lawns will be available for bookings from late April up until September. Contact Oxford University Sport for more information.

Contact us

+44 (0) 1865 2 82040