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Trainee blogpost: landscape, lawns, machines and overalls!

This month, trainee Bryony Langley blogs about working on a section of the Garden which is not directly associated with plants but as any gardener knows, is crucial to the smooth running and aesthetics of any garden - we're talking machines and landscaping. Bryony tells more...

January 2017

Looking after most of the lawns, paths and servicing all the machinery, the Landscape and Machinery section plays a vital role in the smooth running of the Garden.

This month I’ve been working alongside Adrian Holmes, the section supervisor, and Alistair Cochrane, the section assistant. One of the big jobs at this time of year is giving the storage yard a spring clean, as well as servicing machinery and sprucing up some of the paths around Cory Lodge and the Schools' Garden.

The storage yard is where we hold all of our growing media, gravel, stone, timber and paving slabs to be used in the Garden. Things that are often needed have to be accessible, but things that we don’t have a use for anymore must be sorted through and got rid of. It’s kind of like having a sort out of the attic, but heavier. Once the bays have been cleared out, items are put back in an organised fashion. It takes a while but it is really satisfying to look back and see everything neat and tidy.

This sort out also makes room for the compost shredder - a large lorry which needs room to access our pile of green waste and shred it, making the composting process quicker and the pile easier to manage.

Every machine used by Garden staff has to be serviced regularly. This is often an annual event, though it can be more or less frequent depending on how often the machine is used. Each machine has a number, its own servicing records and the number of hours used – as logged by all horticultural staff. I've learnt that servicing normally starts by changing the spark plug and air filter. The latter can become very dirty over time, decreasing the amount of oxygen reaching the engine. Fuel filters may need to be cleaned and the oil is changed, which often collects impurities - turning from a thick honey colour to black treacle. In more complicated cases, gears or clutch control may need to be adjusted, which can be very fiddly as the bolts are never where you want them!

After all that, the machine is given a good polish and taken outside for a test run. With a bit of luck, it will start first time. This has been really useful as, if something breaks down while I’m working, I now know what to check first and what to alter to get things going again.

But really, all this is by the by. The best thing about Landscape and Machinery is the overalls!

Bryony Langley - Landscape and Machinery
Horticultural Trainee


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Publication Date
31/01/2017