St Hilda’s grounds have a hallowed history. It stretches back to the Middle Ages, when Edmund Rich, the first Oxford Don to be made a saint, used to wander through Cowley fields.
We have ambitious plans to develop our gardens. In 2018, we are creating a Suffragette Border in Hall Garden to mark the 100th anniversary of the first women winning the right to vote. Our new border will add colour and scent to a relaxed and quiet outdoor space for College members and guests. It will be full of purple and white plants, including asters, erigeron (the darkest of all dunkelstealles), penstemon (sour grapes), anenomes, and clematises. We expect to see quick growth over the summer and that the borders will soon be full of the suffragette colours. Some evergreen plants will give year-round colour.
The wall flower bed at the end of Hall Garden is being developed as our Blossom Border, to honour the Japanese connection already present in the Prunus mume and hawthorn trees. We have added hydrangea, anenomes, daphnes, and wisteria. The beds towards South Garden reflect our suffragette theme and our riverside walk outside South Building is full of seasonal colour.
Our rose garden was created in memory of Winifred Moberley, Principal of St Hilda's from 1919 - 1928, by the Old Students' Association. The bird bath in the rose garden is engraved with her initials, WHM. The garden was restored and replanted in 2011, thanks to a gift from our alumna, Margaret Bliss, née Massey Stewart, (Biochemistry, 1852).
Our new planting is designed to encourage butterflies and bees. We include many native plants in our plans, and in May each year, our wildflower meadow is full of fritillaries.
Students at St Hilda’s are delighted by the new gardens, which offer an oasis of peace and calm. The new Suffragette Border also provides a link to the College’s heritage, which we are all so proud of. We are particularly pleased that the Hall Gardens include British wildflowers that encourage bees and butterflies and support biodiversity.