Now that exams are over, chances are you’re spending less time shuﬄing up Forum Hill and more time sunning on the beach in Exmouth. Rightly so – school’s out for summer and there are at least three months before you’ll need to be back on campus again! In the meantime, though, campus is in full bloom. There’s wisteria blossoming outside Costa, rhododendrons next to Amory, and a family of ducks settled in the lily pond behind the Forum.
This isn’t Mother Nature’s gift to the students of Exeter – our university is a Registered Botanic Garden, perhaps the best gardened campus in Britain, and those 153 hectares across Streatham and St Luke’s don’t look after themselves.
Students may not be aware that we’ve got a dedicated team of nine people whose job it is to make the trip between lectures
a botanical treat for the eyes. They’ve got a wealth of horticultural experience between them, some of whom have been at the uni for over 30 years, and it shows. Cast your eyes around next year and you’ll notice the Grounds Managers hard at work hoeing, weeding, planting and pruning, each with their own gardening territory to keep looking gorgeously green all year round. From cherry blossom to banana plants – two of the Grounds Managers’ favourite things to grow – we’re surrounded by ﬂora from all over the world.
Without wanting to sound too preachy, I reckon our Grounds Team deserves a bit more recognition for their hard work.<span style=”color: #008000;”>
Trudging back to Lafrowda from a night at Unit 1, those herbaceous perennial borders by the path may have passed you by. Speaking to members of the team, it’s clear they love their job and seeing students, staﬀ and visitors appreciating their surroundings.
Sam Primrose, Grounds Manager for the Innovation Centre, Queens, Hope Hall, Lopes and the Forum, is quite right in wishing that “students and staﬀ explore more of the campus in their spare time.” Undergraduates spend three or four years hiking up and down (and cursing) this hill to get to campus. Once upon a time during an Open Day, chances are you were pretty blown away by the grounds and gardens.
Andy Roke, Grounds Manager for Outer Areas, St Luke’s and Sports areas, says he gets great feedback from people “ranging from normal members of the public to visiting VIPs”. Many students cite the grounds as a reason for choosing Exeter as their university but I wonder how many ﬁnalists have made the most of what campus has to oﬀer. We’ve inherited some pretty special outdoor spaces from the grounds of Reed Hall, known in its Victorian heyday as Streatham Hall and Estate. Whether you take in the views to Exmouth on the Terrace Restaurant balcony or picnic by the ornamental pond next to Washington Singer, it’s well worth having a wander around. Who needs a £100 ticket to the Chelsea Flower Show when we’ve got this campus on hand?