Wildflower meadows bring golden touch to London 2012 Olympic Park
Saturday, 19 May 2012
May 19 - The largest ever man made wildflower meadows in the United Kingdom have been sown and are set to flower gold around the Olympic Park by the start of the London 2012 Games.
Designed by international wildflower expert Professor Nigel Dunnett (pictured above and below) of the University of Sheffield, the bee-friendly cornflowers, marigolds, Californian poppies and prairie flowers will be blooming by July 27, to coincide with the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
More than ten football fields worth of nectar rich wildflower meadows have been sown, representing the final preparations for the gardens, lawns, woodlands and wetlands for the Games.
"After years of preparation and two practice runs we have sown the final meadows that will run like a ribbon of gold around the Olympic Stadium," Dunnett said.
"In just a few weeks, visitors to the Olympic Park and television viewers will see areas of flat mud transformed into waist-high wildflower meadows buzzing with bees and butterflies.
"London 2012 is a great opportunity to get out and garden for the Games by sowing your own wildflower meadow.
"With a bag of seed from your local garden centre you and your neighbours can quickly and cheaply brighten up your area and give your local wildlife a boost."
As well as ensuring a colourful backdrop for the Games, the meadows will offer new parklands for people and wildlife for generations to come.
In total some 4,000 trees, 300,000 wetland plants, 15,000 square metres of lawns and 150,000 perennial plants and bushes for the Olympic Park and Village were completed last autumn.
Sebastian Coe, chair of London 2012, said: "After completing our successful series of London Prepares test events we are preparing the Olympic Park to host millions of spectators this summer.
"Alongside fitting out the venues, installing hundreds of temporary buildings and a range of facilities for spectators and the workforce we are putting the finishing touches on the gardens, lawns and meadows that will provide the colourful setting for the Games.
"The wildflower meadows timed to flower around the Stadium in July are just one example of the painstakingly detailed and innovative work of the team of experts that have created the Olympic Park that will be enjoyed by spectators during the Games and for generations to come."
The meadows are a visual demonstration of the significant work that has been carried out by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) in regenerating the area around the Olympic Park.
It also underlines London's commitment to deliver the first sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Rich in pollen and nectar to help bees, butterflies, birds, moths and other insects to thrive, the meadows had been trialled during 2010 and 2011 to perfect the technique of the team who planted them.
ODA chief executive Dennis Hone said: "As we head towards the Games, the Olympic Park is really starting to take shape.
"In the space of just a few years, a predominantly neglected industrial area has been completely transformed as we cleaned and reshaped the land before planting thousands of trees and plants.
"The wildflower meadows are a timely reminder at just how close to the Games we are getting and their colourful depth and design are a tribute to the UK's horticultural expertise."
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