Odds and quads

This small flock of fibreglass sheep appeared overnight earlier this year on a building known as The Stripe at the University of Winchester.

August 9, 2012

Located on the King Alfred Campus, the building was fitted with a green roof made of sedum plants when it was expanded in 2005. Unfortunately, it soon developed drainage problems and was colonised by fast-growing weeds.

These difficulties were resolved only in 2010 by sourcing 300sq m of wild meadow turf that the gardening team had to carry up and lay down by hand after a hired lift broke down.

Despite a harsh winter, 30 different species of wild flower flowered in the turf over the following spring and summer.

The sheep were then introduced, according to deputy vice-chancellor Tommy Geddes, "as a humorous piece of modern art, emphasising the university's commitment to environmental sustainability and biodiversity".

The university's new Learning and Teaching Building, due to open in September, will also feature a green roof.

It is not yet clear whether this will be mounted by a frustrated sheepdog gazing over at the flock on The Stripe, some lambs in springtime, or perhaps a nativity scene at Christmas to reflect Winchester's origins as a Christian foundation for teacher training.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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