We love our plants at the Warwick Crop Centre and that extends beyond our research. Here is how some of our staff and students are choosing to keep active at the current time.
Alex McCormack - Senior Research Technician
Despite living in a flat with no garden, this has not stopped myself and my partner from using every available window space to grow plants and seedlings. Many are destined for the allotment such as the compost filled loo rolls with peas and beans, or the many coir Jiffy plugs with lettuces, herbs and flowers. But we are also avid lovers of house plants having no less than 40 currently!! These have helped to improve our new home offices (or as they were known before, the living room and spare bedroom) providing greenery and interest to what is in effect a white walled box. Our time on the allotment at the weekends is also useful, helping us to get out of the house and enjoy nature; although at present, it is also giving us a lot of exercise through the amount of digging, planting and construction work still to do!
Rosanne Maguire - PhD Student
Pandemic or not, in good weather you’ll find me in the garden. I love growing veg and have made more space for tomatoes and salad crops by filling some old bulk bags with soil. We keep the rest of our small garden as a bit of a wild refuge in the middle of town for nature. It’s amazing to see all the birds (over 20 different species) visiting daily. I’ve been busy in our little garden making it more wildlife friendly and growing some vegetables. We have two frogs, a hedgehog, a woodpecker, wrens nesting and lots of other birds about.
Nicole Pereira - Senior Research Technician
Our garden has benefited from extra attention during the lockdown and doing more home growing than normal this year has really helped us to keep active and stay in a positive mindset. Often we have company when our cat turns up to supervise activities - after all it's her garden, not really ours! I've been busy planting climbing and dwarf beans, most of which are looking reasonably fit, despite an early attack of leaf miners.
Andy Gladman - PhD student
I have been spending a lot of time in the current situation at my allotment in Leamington Spa where I grow pretty much only ornamental plants. In particular I grow lots of Kniphofia (red hot pokers) species and cultivars (100+ different species, cultivars at the last count) and I’m in the early stages of registering it as a national plant collection with Plant Heritage. In the meantime, I am propagating and allowing the collection to better establish.
Scott Dwyer - PhD student
I’m lucky to be part of the Residential Life Team as a Deputy Warden on main campus, so have been growing vegetables and herbs on my roof garden, and also been growing a few flowering plants in the hope of attracting some more insect pollinators! I’m a member of the allotment society on campus too – so have been helping keep the plants watered, particularly in this hot weather we’ve been having.
Rosemary Collier - Professor of Entomology
During the COVID-19 lockdown I’ve been putting more time into our village biodiversity project. We started to develop a couple of wildflower areas in the churchyard last summer and are monitoring these closely. In true ‘scientific style’ we have a ‘treated area’ and an ‘untreated control’. The treated area was prepared by close-mowing and scarification and then seeded with hay from the wildflower-rich churchyard at Oldberrow . I also collected some yellow rattle seed from a local wildflower area and sowed that. The yellow rattle is supposed to reduce the competitiveness of the grass. The yellow-rattle has grown and is now starting to flower and I’m watching to see what else comes up. We stopped mowing both areas several weeks ago and will let both areas grow until the late summer when we will cut the ‘hay’. Since then we have also taken on a grassy bank opposite the church (pictured). The decision was made too late to sow anything but a few yellow rattle seeds but it looks as if there are a few wildflowers there already! We are also trying to promote Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May' in the village and encourage the local children to make ‘scaremows’ (Brian May 'scaremow' pictured)