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NATIVE WILDFLOWER MEADOW INFRASTUCTURE OF THE PARK

Most of the areas of the North Park, South Park and Eton Manor that are not designed to be walked upon are species, and flower rich wildflower meadows. These were all created by sowing seed in-situ, using very low nutrient, sand based soils to facilitate long term persistence under low levels of maintenance.  Grass content was minimized to less than 10% to create extremely flower rich, dramatic plant communities that would be seen as highly attractive by ordinary people.


The dry, west facing meadow beneath the Velodrome, in August 2011, dominated initially by the planted, hazy pink Ononis spinosa, a plant which is gradually declining (as planned)  in response to annual meadow cutting.


The meadows were cut in early May 2012, 12 weeks before the games to delay their peak flowering to the opening week. This was based on trials undertaken by the author and Helen Hoyle from 2009–2011. Here the first species in the drier slope meadow mix is just beginning to flower (mainly the blue Echium vulgare) in early July 2012.


The moister native meadow mix flowering on the opening day; 28th July 2012



During Games most of the flowering in the meadows came from a subset of the faster growing species, the planted Ononis spinosa (pink), wild Carrot,  and Malva moschata.  As the meadows have aged a much greater diversity of flower can now be seen.



Water management is a key idea in the design of the Olympic Park landscape; gullies and swales are used throughout the park.

Here a slope planted with a horticultural plant community, drains surface water into a sown swale of native species, with the tussocky grass, Deschampsia cespitosa much in evidence.  Integrating the cultural and the natural to create a successful whole was a key part of the Olympic planting strategy.

>> LARGE SCALE, REPEATING PATTERN HORTICULTURAL PLANTING

>> THE OLYMPIC GARDENS

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