9.    The Damp Garden

The most recent garden development on the south side of the College is the damp garden created in 1989-90, which is actually the only place in the College where you can sit at river level. The upper section of the space was originally a garden rubbish dump, while the lower section was treed with an undercovering of snowberry and elderberry.

Photo: John Cairns

The ground level was lowered to create the idea of a stream meeting the river. Then work began on a rock cascade, with the arrival in November 1989 of 32 tonnes of Wroxton ironstone. The cascade took nine months to complete, as the rock had to be placed carefully to create the impression of a natural outcrop. All of the work was undertaken by the garden staff. A water pump was installed at the water’s edge to bring water up from the Cherwell so it could trickle naturally down. The College discovered that it needed to purchase permission from the Environment Agency both to take water out of the Cherwell and to pump it back in!

Walter Sawyer and Tim Hitchens