A walk through London 2012 Olympic Park gardens…..
I was lucky enough to get tickets and my family and I visited the park on saturday 11th August. After our morning of sport we spent the remainder of the day walking around parts of the 250 hectare site, which is now the largest urban park to be created in the Europe for 150 years. The site has been designed and created on a former industrial waste land for the Olympic year of 2012 but also for its transformation to a public park between 2012-2014…..
The Olympic Park comprises two areas. The North Park, designed with in an informal style. The South Park, which currently houses the Olympic Stadium and has a more urban design. Surrounding the Olympic Stadium are swaths of wildflower meadow planting. Professor Nigel Dunnett is one of the people responsible for creating the meadows around the park, he was given very specific requirements for the annual meadows.
- The meadows had to be in peak flower for the opening day of the games (July 27th), but must look good for many weeks before that, and must continue in full flower throughout the games and Paralympics.
- The colour requirement for the meadows around the stadium was precise: they must flower in yellow and gold, and would be known as the ‘Olympic Gold Meadows’.
As these are annual meadows (the seed is sown, they flower, set seed and die, all within one year) the meadows have to be started again each year from seed to ensure a perfect display. The areas for sowing became available in 2010 & 2011 and were sown each year. This has given Prof. Nigel Dunnet and his team essential time in which to assess the flowering display, the colour combinations, and to work out a sowing and maintenance schedule to ensure a perfect display for the games.
The planting and design for the park has been creative, it looks to the future and is quite revolutionary for a UK urban park, it incorporates ‘Bioswales’ & ‘Rain Gardens’ using the surface water that is normally taken away in underground drains to help maintain the gardens by infiltrating the soil or evaporating back into the atmosphere. (more details can be found on Nigel Dunnet’s website) The main ethos behind the parks gardens to incorporate biodiversity and sustainability but still providing areas of beauty.
Garden designer Sarah Price was involved in creating the half mile long linea planting scheme which changes character as you walk along the waterside gardens. The scheme is cleverly planted to take you across the 5 continents.
- Western Europe, The Mediterranean and Asia Minor.
- The Temperate Americas.
- The Southern Hemisphere; South Africa, Australia, New Zealand.
- Temperate Asia, particularly Montane China, Japan and the Himalayas.
Olympic Park Garden Facts:
- 4000 trees have been planted within the park
- 250 species of plants have been included
- 74,000 plants planted
- 2000 newts relocated
I had an amazing time at the Olympics. The gardens at the park were a delight to behold. I believe that even after the games have finished it wont just be the legacy of the Gold medal winning athletes that will continue to inspire a generation, the park with its ‘Transformation’ during 2012-2014 will become a sustainable, ecological, forward thinking, beautiful and inspiring outdoor urban legacy for our future generations.
kind regardskat x p.s remember you can keep in touch with me between blog posts on Facebook and Twitter Image credits: all images by Kat Weatherill for Tea On The Terrace. If you reuse any of these images please add a link back to this site – thank you