It’s springtime in Charleston, and every season the campus gets a little spruce-up after the last of winter has moved on. This is when the the College of Charleston Grounds Crew swings into full force to tend to the needs of all the plants around 66 George Street and beyond.
“Over the winter, we are cutting back the hydrangeas, grasses and perennial flowers to prepare for spring,” says Grounds Manager Verneil Phillips. “As the perennial plants stay dormant from growing much of the winter season, we make sure all the trees and shrubbery that we can prune are manicured before the spring growing season.”
As soon as the live oaks stop dropping leaves and catkin (those fuzzy pollen things that get stuck in your hair), then it is time to replace the pine straw on the grounds and mulch the landscape beds.
But it’s not just the landscape on the College’s main campus that’s been getting attention as the weather has warmed up in recent weeks. Phillips and his team have also taken over athletic field maintenance at the Patriots Point Athletics Complex, where they’ve had some fun mowing in unique designs within the fields – even raking the silhouette of a palmetto tree into the softball outfield.
Back on campus, the Grounds Crew also recently started working with the Starbucks in the Addlestone Library to repurpose coffee grounds, placing them at the base of hydrangea plants to add extra acidity to the soil, which causes the flowers to turn a pretty blue color. And they’re getting ready to add new color and plants to enhance the already picturesque scene at CofC.
“Our annuals for summer have just arrived,” says Phillips. “We have started removing the winter annuals and prepping the ground with new compost, fertilizer and a good tilling of the soil before the new annuals are placed.”
Follow the Grounds Crew on Instagram (@cofc_grounds) to see how all their hard work pays off!