Loreto students and staff, and guests visiting the college in the spring and summer months, have grown accustomed to being greeted by the splendid sight of a rich array of flowers and shrubs in the college grounds. Security Supervisor Bob Lye is proud of this year’s crop, with over twenty varieties of flower presenting a dazzling display of bright colour, from the tall pink and red floribunda roses around the Chapel, and several varieties of multi-coloured lilies, to the purple and blue climbing clematis and pink and yellow honeysuckle adorning the perimeter railings. Large wooden tubs, originally used as whiskey barrels, overflow with cascades of colour, scarlet fuchsia, ruby red geraniums, yellow hemercallis, gaillardia combining the two, twinkling blue forget-me-nots and even exotic jasmine, all catch the eye.

Further exploration of the paths and lawns, past the rhododendron and hydrangea bushes, with brilliant flower of Jerusalem glinting from the shadows beneath the trees, reveals a hitherto little known addition to Bob’s horticultural endeavours, a veritable secret garden of herbs and spices: oregano, mint, rosemary, bay and parsley, augmented by lavender, combine to distil the essence of summer. An additional area is devoted to the growing of tomatoes, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, black and red currants, healthy goji berries and root ginger. A touch of the Mediterranean is brought to Moss Side with grapes and olives, whilst the intriguing cosmos atrosanguineus gives off the aroma of chocolate!

Such a catalogue of horticultural attractions would not seem out of place at the Chelsea Flower Show: Bob is certainly doing his bit to bring the countryside and the suburban garden into the inner city.

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