Happy Graduation and congratulations to everyone who is graduating this week!
Our Floristry Team have worked tirelessly to create the beautiful floral decorations in the Great Hall and around campus.
The stage is set ready for the celebrations.
We are delighted to announce that we have our first mini harvest of Antirrhinums which have been grown in the Grounds Nursery! These flowers will be used in the University’s floristry displays and bouquets.
Our first progress update following our post on 5th February 2018 where we reported that our Floristry and Nursery Team have branched out into growing our own cut flowers for our bouquets and displays to complement the flowers bought from our amazing local supplier.
Our Antirrhinums have ignored the wintery weather and begun to bloom in the Nursery and have just begun to make their way into our floristry displays. Once the threat of frost has passed, we will be moving them out into the polytunnel to slow them down a little so we don’t have to use them all at once!
We have been sowing more cut flower seeds and pricking out the seedlings as they get big enough to handle. Now that the worst of the cold weather has (hopefully) passed, they will be shooting up in no time.
Our Floristry and Nursery Team have decided to branch out into growing our own cut flowers for our bouquets and displays to complement the flowers bought from our amazing local supplier.
They have been busy sowing seeds and preparing ground for a cut flower area at the Grounds Nursery on Streatham Campus, where the container grown plants can be moved in and out of the glasshouses for early blooming.
Our Dianthus (Sweet Williams) have been making their way into our displays since the end of December, along with some of the beautiful foliage we have growing at the Grounds Nursery and on campus.
Look out for our own cut Digitalis (Foxgloves), Antirrhinums (Snapdragons), Helenium, grasses and many more beautiful home grown flowers in your bouquets and displays in the summer. We will be updating their progress on here for you to see!
Tributes have been paid to a well loved and highly respected former University of Exeter gardener, Gordon Newton MBE, who has passed away at the age of 71.
Gordon spent his working life of 50 years helping transform the University’s Streatham Campus grounds from fields and crops into the award winning botanical gardens it is renowned for today.
Having joined the University as an apprentice gardener aged just 15, after attending Exeter’s Ladysmith School, Gordon rose from his earliest tasks of washing pots and mixing soils to winning dozens of medals with the University at the Devon County Show, overseeing floral arrangements for weddings and other events and making bouquets for the Queen and other Royal visitors.
Gordon tended the grounds all year round, including during the Christmas and New Year periods. His last role at the University, which he held until his retirement in 2010 aged 65, was foreman of the University’s glasshouses and nursery.
In his spare time, Gordon had a passion for fireworks, Exeter City Football Club, speedway and photography.
Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said “Gordon’s passing will be met with genuine sadness by all who knew him and so our immediate thoughts are with his wife Susan, his sister Josie, and all those who knew and loved him.
Gordon joined the University straight from school at the age of 15 and worked at the University for over 50 years. In that time he contributed so much to the life of the institution and to the region. He will be remembered as a much loved individual who had an amazing talent for nurturing pants and flowers and for designing multi-award winning floral displays, winning over 40 prizes at the Devon County Show.
Generations of graduates will have been awarded their degrees surrounded by his floral displays and many staff will remember his wonderful flowers at so many University events. I was privileged to know Gordon and we often talked about his and my football teams.
It was particularly pleasing to see a nurseryman and gardener from Exeter get the recognition he so richly deserved when the Queen awarded him an MBE for his services. Gordon will be sorely missed.”
Iain Park, Director of Grounds at the University of Exeter, paid tribute to Gordon describing him as “one of life’s great characters.”
Iain said “Even when Gordon sadly become unwell, he still recounted some of his best times working in the University nursery. He always had a keen interest in plants and how to propagate them and was a regular visitor to other local nurseries throughout Devon, including the Exeter Council nursery and this helped him build lasting friendships.
It would take a very large book to produce all the stories that Gordon had about working on the grounds here. He always tried to make sure he did the best job he could and promote the University positively. If he did not know about something in horticulture he would go and find out about it, long before access to the internet was available.
If he could help he would go out of his way to try to do so. If you did something that fell short of his expected standards, he would also go out of his way to let you know!
I know that those who met Gordon will remember him, for those who didn’t; they missed out on meeting one of life’s great characters.”
The run up to Graduation is a very busy time for the Grounds Team. Many hours are put into making the grounds look their best for our Graduates and their families. It is also by far the busiest time of year for our Floristry Team who create all of the floral decorations for both Streatham and Penryn campuses.
This year we also made bouquets to be sold in the Marketplace in the Forum on Streatham Campus.