Trinity Hall has interesting and varied gardens located on two main sites, one in the heart of the city and the other, Wychfield, a short distance west.
When entering the college from the busy city centre through the Porters’ Lodge, Front Court is the first garden area you will come to. This peaceful courtyard is formal in layout, with four lawns and narrow beds surrounding the court on all sides, brimming with roses, lavender, irises, hardy fuchsias, geraniums and Agapanthus along with tender plants during the summer months. Each face of the courtyard has different growing conditions. The sometimes cold and always shady North and East facing walls are in contrast to the often hot and dry South and West facing side.
The climbers and wall shrubs which adorn the walls in Front Court are carefully pruned and trained to provide the narrow planting areas with height, texture and colour, enhancing the warm character of the court.
As you emerge from Front Court into Latham, an imposing bull bay (Magnolia grandiflora) is to be found on your right, standing as tall as the buildings which surround it and clothed in dark, glossy, evergreen leaves punctuated by huge cream coloured flowers from May to November, which have a beautiful subtle lemon scent. Stretching out from the magnolia, the Old Library bed is a traditional herbaceous border, full of colour and variety during the warmer months. The many buildings which make up Latham Court are fronted by narrow beds. These are full of sun loving plants such as Hibiscus, Echium and Passiflora.
Latham Lawn is dominated by a splendid beech tree (Fagus sylvatica purpurea). It is underplanted with a selection of bulbs which provide a long awaited touch of colour in Spring. There is a circular seat around the base of the old yew tree (Taxus baccata), which provides a cool and relaxing place to sit and admire the array of plants, such as foxgloves, lenten roses and many flowering shrubs which flourish in its shade.
At the end of Latham Lawn is the River Terrace, which looks over the river Cam. The pear tree (Pyrus calleryana “Chanticleer”) planted on the terrace provides a little shade for students working in the Jerwood Library.
On entering Avery Court you are greeted by an area of contrasts. The court is surrounded by buildings of differing styles and periods and the neatly clipped lattice of box hedging provides a strong visual contrast to the soft, drifting planting which spills from one bed to the next.
The stone walls in this courtyard provide a sheltered and sunny site for growing a range of summer flowering wall shrubs, with the Chapel wall providing a particularly attractive backdrop, due to its stained glass windows and buttresses.
North Court is the smallest courtyard at Trinity Hall and is located to one side of Front Court. There is a small seating area which is surrounded by verdant planting, with five clipped hornbeams framing the windows of one building, whilst an espalier trained Pyracantha clothes the wall at the shadier end of the court.
To the side of the Master’s Lodge, a narrow iron gateway leads into the Fellows’ Garden. This is an area of the gardens that has undergone major change and development in recent years following the necessary removal of several large horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) that had unfortunately come to the end of their life. The loss of these trees was seen by the Gardens Department as an opportunity to re-develop and provide a suitable setting for college functions and celebrations. The formal lawn has been increased and mixed borders now extend around the whole garden. These borders contain shrubs, herbaceous plants, roses, trees and bulbs, planted in a contemporary cottage style. The pathway allows guests of the College to navigate around the garden and view the diverse planting which has a relaxed and informal feel.