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Fronting onto Broad Street, Trinity College's distinctive iron gates give the college a more open feel than many other Oxford colleges. Through the gates you can catch a glimpse of some of the most beautiful gardens in Oxford.
The front of Trinity opens up like a small park within central Oxford. It features an informal grass area in which several specimen trees can be found. These include our two iconic Atlantic Blue Cedars and a Catalpa (Indian Bean Tree), which is reputed to be one of the oldest in Oxford. In front of the chapel is a very fine specimen of Magnolia grandiflora. The border around Front Quad are planted with Roses and Hydrangeas.
This area of the garden is many people’s favourite and has been transformed with the arrival of the new Levine Building next to it. The Yew and Lime trees in this area trace back to formal gardens which existed in the 18th and 19th centuries. There is an informal woodland planting in the area, which aims to tie together the formal aspect of the building and the less formal, wilderness aspect of the garden. This is at its height in spring when bulbs and flowering plants poke through, before the tree canopy starts to close over.
These gardens are permanently on view through the Stuart Gates on Parks Road, making them famous in their own right. The view up to Garden Quad will be familiar to students and visitors alike and the lawns are open to residents of the college and their visitors to relax, or even play a game of croquet.
On the wall adjoining St John’s is a long herbaceous border which is shortly to undergo restoration. The South Border is planted as a traditional Herbaceous Border and gives lively colour from April through to October.
Garden Quad is a three-sided paved space which overlooks the gardens, and the original part of this was designed by Christopher Wren. The climber which covers the archway is Campsis x tagliabuana and is a real favourite with the hundreds of visitors each summer. Seasonal pots add a splash of colour and complement the honey-stone walls.
The octagonal lawn of Durham Quad sits on a plinth of Portland stone. The lawn was installed in 1980. Ornamental plants in barrels and pots around the quad give a seasonal backdrop to this plainer, more formal space.
Development in the college in 2021 resulted in the creation of a new garden area in this quadrangle, which used to have concrete and stone flooring (although in the first half of the 20th century it did have a Rose Garden and pond). The main area has a shallow soil-bed and has been planted in a sustainable fashion, with plants that require little watering and provide a long flowering season to feed insect populations.
This is the private garden for the college’s Fellows, and can usually be glimpsed through the iron gate. It has been planted with four beautiful Trachycarpus wagnerianus palms which have been underplanted with several species of tender salvias. The garden is currently closed while the Hall, Kitchen and SCR are being restored.
This is the private garden of the President, currently Dame Hilary Boulding. It is surrounded by high stone walls, yew hedges and herbaceous borders. It is also home to the Trinity tortoises, Plum and Toby. The planting resembles and English Country Garden in style, with gentle pastel hues through June and July.