Following the completion of our new Anniversary Building and Pavilion, we are continuing to transform our site. We are redesigning St Hilda's gardens to embed the buildings in the distinctive green space of our riverside setting. You can learn more about the past and future development of our gardens and grounds with the above film with our Horticultural Consultant, Walter Sawyer. Walter has also led some virtual strolls around St Hilda's grounds to tell us about the trees and plants that can be found there.
St Hilda’s riverside grounds have a hallowed history stretching back to the Middle Ages. Edmund Rich, the first Oxford Don to be made a saint, used to wander through Cowley fields. Today, our gardens are still a haven away from the bustle of the city centre. The wildlife-rich grounds are full of year-round seasonal colour.
Our rose garden was created in memory of Winifred Moberly, 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, 1951).
Our Suffragette Border in Hall Garden was created in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the first women winning the right to vote. Our new border adds colour and scent to a relaxed and quiet outdoor space for College members and guests. In the summer months it is full of suffragette colours with purple and white plants, including asters, erigeron (the darkest of all dunkelstealles), penstemon (sour grapes), anenomes, and clematises. Some evergreen plants will give year-round colour.
The wall flower bed at the end of Hall Garden has been 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. A wildflower garden was added to Hall Garden in 2020, to encourage more insects and bird life. Our riverside walk outside South Building is always full of seasonal colour.
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.