Gardens and Grounds

Worcester is set within 26 acres of award-winning gardens and wooded grounds, including a lake, on-site sports fields, and an orchard. The gardens are unique among all the Oxford colleges in being landscaped in the naturalistic manner, formed at a time when the late ‘picturesque’ strand of the landscape garden was giving way to the more decorative approach, with shrubberies, of the Regency period.  The gardens are distinctive in having the lake, which forms the centrepiece of the design.

Head of Gardens and Grounds, Simon Bagnall, leads the team who have a responsibility to preserve and improve the historic gardens. They provide this beautiful, tranquil environment for the Fellows, students, staff, Old Members, conference visitors and the local community to enjoy.

  • Worcester College’s gardens are normally open to the public from 2-4pm every day.



Cultivating Clematis

Working out in the gardens over the last month there is a noticable splash of colour on some of the walls and railings, and a large hazel tripod in the herbaceous border. These colouful, floriferous displays are being created by a variety of clematis that have been planted by the gardening team over the last few years.

Clematis are split into three groups depending on the way they are pruned. All of these are from group 3, which are pruned in early March to within a few feet from the ground. Flowering on the new growth, they begin to put on their colouful display in as little as three months after pruning and this colourful spectacle continues throughout the summer. This is the easiest group to look after and, if you have the space, it is well worth having in any garden.

The photograph below shows some of our favourite clematis found in the gardens at Worcester: Clematis ‘Romantika’(far left), ‘Black Prince’(top middle), ‘Etoile Violette’(far right), ‘Alba Luxurians’(white flower in the middle) and ‘Little Nell’ (bottom middle).


From the deep, dark purple flowers of ‘Romantika’, the reddish purple, gentle nodding flowers of ‘Black Prince’, the reddish purple flowers of ‘Etoile Violette’, the quirky white with green tipped flowers of ‘Alba Luxurians’ through to the delicate soft-white, pale mauve margined flowers of ‘Little Nell’, all are most welcome in the gardens of Worcester College. 

The content for this section is produced by Simon and Allison Leslie, one of the gardeners with a particular interest in plants and wildlife. You can find out what the team have been up to over the past few months by clicking on each of the months.