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Green Initiatives

Close-up of the wildflowers outside the entrance of the Rochester buildingAs lockdown eases and more of our staff and students begin to return to the physics department, you may have also noticed that we're going little bit greener. In the quad you will find planters filled with pollinator friendly plants (many of which are sweet smelling!). Outside the front of physics and on the grass surrounding it, we are creating a wildflower meadow. You can see that as well as grass, there are many wildflowers such as vetch, daisies, clover and buttercups. This meadow will benefit lots of wildlife including bees and hedgehogs. We have also added in many perennial meadow plants which will start flowering next year. In the Isaac Newton apple tree meadow, hundreds of spring bulbs have been planted - so keep your eyes peeled next February for snowdrops, winter aconites and windflowers springing up!

This page will keep you updated of any new environmentally-friendly works and schemes the department is undertaking.


Upcoming Events   Previous Events   Green News

The gardening / eco-initiatives group

Girl knelt cutting back weeds in parkWe are a newly formed group in physics - aiming to make the physics department greener and more eco-friendly. The group currently is in charge of looking after the pots in the quad and the meadow that wraps around the entire building.


We are looking for more people to grow this group - and to start more eco-projects in the department! We have a mailing list for interested people so they can join by emailing 


with the subject header subscribe. If they have questions, they can email or

Upcoming Events

Changing the plants in the pots: 11th May at 1.30-2.30pm in the physics quad.
We will also be taking pelargonium cuttings. We'll bring plenty of compost and pots - so you can take your baby cuttings home with you - or put it in your office. No experience necessary - we'll show you what to do! Want to know more - check out this blog post which is quite good (

Houseplant Swap: April 2022 (exact date tbc)

We're looking to organise another houseplant swap in April. It will take the same format as before, under the covered area of the physics quad (in case of inclement weather). Houseplants often have high air-miles and the possibility of importing new pests and diseases. Growing and swapping plants already in the local area represents a much greener way of enjoying houseplants while being sensitive to the planet. If you have spare houseplants or doubles, or can take cuttings a few weeks before - why not bring them in and find a new one to take home! No spares/no houseplants, no problem! Come and join us and find a new houseplant for your collection. 

Previous events

Scything course

Saturday 18th September.

The meadow surrounding physics has been looking lovely over the summer but will soon need a haircut ready for winter. We're thinking of doing this the traditional way - and learning to scythe. The cost would be between £30-£60 per person (in discussion). We are looking to gauge interest - do let us know if you are keen as there will be a limited number of places.

Balsam Bashing Event

Friday 13th August

See news items below

Planting cosmic flowers and meadow management

Monday 28th June, 12 noon-1 pm - meet Rochester main entranceway.

We'll be planting some cosmos kindly given to us by Mike at the botanic gardens in large pots outside the main entrance. We'll also be doing a bit of meadow management. To stop the more thuggish wildflowers (docks and nettles) - we will need to take them out by hand. We will be doing it soon because we want to catch them before they flower and seed! In the words of Shakespeare (Henry V).

        The even mead that erst brought sweetly forth
        The freckled cowslip, burnet and green clover
        Wanting the scythe, all uncorrected, rank
        Conceives by idleness, and nothing teems
        But hateful docks, rough thistles, keksies, burs,
        Losing both beauty and utility.

No gardening experience needed - we'll show you what to do. If you have a pair of gardening gloves/trowel do bring them - we have a few pairs spare (we will bring them freshly washed) to lend to people. Hope to meet some of you there!


Snowdrop Season

January 2022

It's snowdrop season, and this year the physics department have their own snowdrops to view! Last year hundreds of spring bulbs were planted - and the snowdrops are the first ones to put on a show for us. These early spring bulbs will provide valuable pollen and nectar for early insects, such as queen bumblebees. 
(Photo credit Sarah Goodband)


Snow Drop Flower

Scything course update

2 November 2021

We had a fantastic time scything the physics meadow last Saturday with our scything tutor Danny. As both an experienced scyther and conservationist, he was able to advise us on both the meadow management to promote diversity and the technique of scything! The department kindly supported this eco-venture by paying half of the course fee, for which we are extremely grateful. Read the full story here >>

Update on our 'Balsam Bashing Event'

13 August 2021

Some non-native invasive weeds (Himalayan Balsam) were spotted behind the Ogden Centre in physics. These plants suppress the native woodland plants and flowers and so need to be removed. The physics ecogroup sent a small team to pull those invaders out before they set seed! Here's some in action shots!

We weren't the first to clear the Balsam - another ecowarrior had come before us and pulled out the earlier flowering plants (thank you to whoever you are!). We will have to keep going back periodically next month (and next year) to make sure that we get them all out!

We'll keep you updated as to the balsam project - why not join us next time!

Update on our Cosmic Flowers

18th August 2021

Our cosmic flowers (Cosmos) are doing splendidly. You might have noticed them as you come in through the main Rochester front doors! Thanks again to Mike at the botanic gardens for giving us the plants earlier this year!

Flowers at the Rochester entrance