Plant Sale – Friday 5th May 2023, 11am to 2pm

The Grounds Team are selling vegetable plants, flowering plants and large houseplants at a pop-up shop on Friday 5th May from 11am to 2pm in The Forum Street on Streatham Campus

The vegetable plants have been propagated and grown in the Grounds nursery and include cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chillies, aubergines and squash.

The flowering plants include Sunflowers and Eccremocarpus scaber.

Prices for the vegetable and flowering plants range from £3.50 to £5.00.

The houseplants include large versions of Crassula ovata and Dracaena and prices range from £15 to £50.

Please do come along; we would love to see you!

Vegetable plant for sale – Cucumber ‘Marketmore’

Vegetable plant for sale – Tomato ‘Roma’

Vegetable plant for sale – Tomato ‘Bottondoro’

Vegetable plant for sale – Sweet Pepper ‘Beja’

Vegetable plant for sale – Chilli ‘Gusto Green’

Vegetable plant for sale – Aubergine ‘Pinstripe’

Vegetable plant for sale – Squash ‘Uchiki Kuri’

Flowering plant for sale – Sunflower ‘Procut Plum’

Flowering plant for sale – Eccremocarp0us scaber (a tropical looking non-hardy climber)

Houseplant for sale – Dracaena

Houseplant for sale – Crassula ovata

Buy a mature rose plant and help hedgehogs!

Beautiful rose plants for sale!

Some rose plants have been removed from the grounds in readiness for the new Multifaith Centre building, but the good news is that they’re available for you to buy!

Purchase a voucher at the Forum Marketplace shop – £4.50 per rose plant – and then exchange it for a rose bare-root plant at the Grounds Nursery, Estate Services Centre, Off Clydesdale Avenue, EX4 4QX. Once you’ve made your purchase, simply email Jess Evans to arrange a collection date and time.

And the best part? All proceeds will go towards supporting the British Hedgehog Preservation Society! Help us to support a great cause and add some beauty to your garden at the same time!

Exciting News!

Exciting news! We are delighted to announce that plants from the University Grounds Team horticulturists are now being sold in the Forum’s Marketplace shop.

If you are looking to add some greenery to your life, our collection of plants has got you covered! From small succulents to towering Mother in Law’s Tongue, we’ve got plants in all shapes and sizes to suit any space. Whether you’re an experienced plant parent or just starting out, our range of plants is perfect for anyone looking to add a touch of nature to their home or office. With a variety of species to choose from, you can find a wonderful plant to fit your unique style.

Want information on how to care for your plant and keep it in good health? Just click on the QR code! (QR code is also on the sign in the shop).

Did you know that plants have been shown to have numerous health benefits? They reduce stress levels, boost productivity and some plants can purify the air! So not only will you be adding a beautiful aesthetic to your space, but you’ll also be improving your overall wellbeing.

So what are you waiting for? Check out our selection of plants today and bring a little bit of nature into your life. We guarantee you won’t regret it!

Clearing Works Project – Higher Hoopern Valley

The Grounds Mitigation Team’s latest project has been to clear the Streatham Campus Higher Hoopern Valley woodlands and watercourse system of invasive plants.

This area is an important ecosystem that provides various ecological, economic and recreational benefits and invasive plants can pose a significant threat to the health and diversity of this ecosystem.

Invasive plants can outcompete native species, alter soil and nutrient conditions, and disrupt natural ecological processes. Therefore this was an important project to maintain the ecological integrity of this area.

Drought Tolerant Planting

When selecting plants we consider the environment, and plants needing additional regular watering – other than for establishment – are not used. Our aim is to enhance habitats, to encourage year round wildlife activity and introduce adaptability to cope with any impact of the effects of global warming.

Since 2019 we have been using drought tolerant varieties of tender perennials including Rudbeckia, Dahlia and Salvia.

This year the Environment Agency declared droughts across most of the UK including the South West. The photos below, taken this summer, demonstrate how adept these drought tolerant species are to drought conditions with no watering whatsoever!

The Salvia have established here very well, are softly structural and full of colour. In the past this area would have been planted with an annual bedding scheme which can require watering during difficult phases of weather.

Drought tolerant planting at the north east corner of Hatherly Labs

Drought tolerant planting at the north east corner of Hatherly Labs


The Sunniest Sunflower!

All members of the Grounds Team took part in an in-house Sunflower growing competition this year.

The Sunflowers were grown from seed and were then planted out at the Grounds nursery. Their growth has been very closely monitored over the last few weeks with some of the early front runners fading away.

The competition was strongly fought with a large amount of care and attention lavished on the Sunflowers, with some team members really going the extra mile to encourage growth in some rather unusual ways (singing, playing music and dancing have been reported)!

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the prestigious Sunniest Sunflower 2022 Award, with the tallest and most floriferous Sunflower, is Elliot Smith. Congratulations Elliot!

The Sunniest Sunflower Award was created in-house from fallen timber on campus, which not only makes it sustainable, personal to the team but also economically viable as it cost nothing to create!

The winner, Elliot Smith, next to proudly accepting the Sunniest Sunflower Award

The Sunniest Sunflower Award

Blooming Lovely Wallpaper Installation!

An exciting new wallpaper installation designed and created by Bee Watson, founder of wild hive paper flowers, has been unveiled.

This spectacular wallpaper is inspired by the flora and foliage on the Streatham Campus. The flowers and leaves are all constructed from paper, photographed and then transformed into a repeated pattern.

The creative journey that led to this piece being created included workshops with students and staff and a site tour with the university’s Grounds Team to identify plants and flowering times.

The wallpaper installation is now on display in the Queens Building on Streatham Campus.

Bee Watson said:

“Abso-blooming-lutely thriled to finally reveal what I’ve been  working on for the last couple of months. Our first ever wallpaper installation! I wanted to capture the experience that people have of being greeted by the steep banks of greenery dappled with Rhododendrons, Ferns and Azaleas as they walk up through the campus in late spring / early summer.

It’s been an absolute dream of a project from start to finish. The wallpaper installation is now on display in the Queens Building on Streatham Campus; if you’re in the area go check it out, get a photo in front of it and see if you can lcacte the flowers on campus when they’re in bloom next year.”

Bee Watson proudly revealing her new wallpaper installation



Challenging times but what a transformation!

Our wonderful team of gardeners work very hard looking after and maintaining the 247 acres of diverse and beautiful grounds on Streatham Campus.

This has proved even more challenging over the last 18 months as staff were furloughed and unable to work on campus. They have spent the last few months tackling all the overgrown vegetation to bring the campus back to its glorious best.

The latest project was clearing the hidden overgrown areas by Reed Pond and the Reed Sunken Garden – what a transformation!

Area 1 – BEFORE

Area 1 – AFTER

Area 2 – BEFORE

Area 2 – AFTER

Area 3 – BEFORE

Area 3 – AFTER


More Wow Wildflowers!

The wildflower areas at St Luke’s Campus are looking fantastic.

New Research – big bumblebees learn locations of best flowers

Big bumblebees take time to learn the locations of the best flowers, new research shows.

Meanwhile smaller bumblebees – which have a shorter flight range and less carrying capacity – don’t pay special attention to flowers with the richest nectar.

University of Exeter scientists examined the “learning flights” which most bees perform after leaving flowers.

Honeybees are known to perform such flights – and the study shows bumblebees do the same, repeatedly looking back to memorise a flower’s location.

“It might not be widely known that pollinating insects learn and develop individual flower preferences, but in fact bumblebees are selective,” said Natalie Hempel de Ibarra, Associate Professor at Exeter’s Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour.

“On leaving a flower, they can actively decide how much effort to put into remembering its location.

Bumblebee flower

Bumblebees carry out “learning flights” after leaving flowers (credit: Natalie Hempel de Ibarra)

Bumblebees carry out “learning flights” after leaving flowers (credit: Natalie Hempel de Ibarra)

“The surprising finding of our study is that a bee’s size determines this decision making and the learning behaviour.”

In the study, captive bees visited artificial flowers containing sucrose (sugar) solution of varying concentrations.

The larger the bee, the more its learning behaviour varied depending on the richness of the sucrose solution.

Smaller bees invested the same amount of effort in learning the locations of the artificial flowers, regardless of whether sucrose concentration was high or low.

“The differences we found reflect the different roles of bees in their colonies,” said Professor Hempel de Ibarra.

“Large bumblebees can carry larger loads and explore further from the nest than smaller ones.

“Small ones with a smaller flight range and carrying capacity cannot afford to be as selective, so they accept a wider range of flowers.

“These small bees tend to be involved more with tasks inside the nest – only going out to forage if food supplies in the colony are running low.”

The study was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the University of Sussex.

The bees were observed in greenhouses at the University of Exeter’s award-winning Streatham Campus, and Professor Hempel de Ibarra thanked the university’s Grounds and Gardens team for their continued support.

The study was funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

The paper, published in the journal Current Biology, is entitled: “Small and large bumblebees invest differently when learning about flowers.”