Marigolds, Wildflowers and Olympic Rings to Flower Across the UK as Green-fingered Brits ‘Garden for the Games’

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From Olympic Torch-coloured marigolds and wildflowers, to red, white and blue window boxes and flowering Olympic rings, green-fingered experts and novices across the UK are getting together to bring the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to their gardens and neighbourhoods.

Marigolds, wildflowers and Olympic Rings to flower across the UK as green-fingered Brits ‘Garden for the Games’

Marigolds, wildflowers and Olympic Rings to flower across the UK as green-fingered Brits ‘Garden for the Games’

We are a nation of gardeners and Local Leaders are using London 2012 as an opportunity to get friends, family and neighbours together to brighten up their area and build on our proud gardening heritage

From Olympic Torch-coloured marigolds and wildflowers, to red, white and blue window boxes and flowering Olympic rings, green-fingered experts and novices across the UK are getting together to bring the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to their gardens and neighbourhoods.

Thousands of people across the UK have already signed up to be London 2012 ‘Local Leaders’ who will bring friends, families and neighbours together to celebrate the Games. The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has now announced ideas and expert tips on how green-fingered Local Leaders and gardening novices alike can ‘Garden for the Games’.

Gardeners of all levels of abilities and experience can visit http://www.london2012.com/localleaders for advice on how to ‘Grow for Gold’ by filling the window boxes and hanging baskets on their street with golden marigolds, the London 2012 colours or the national colours of their favourite team competing in the Games.

Local Leaders can also find out how to grow their own patch of bee-friendly wildflowers like the spectacular golden meadows that will surround the Olympic Stadium during the Games and get tips from expert gardener Phil Turvil on how to create floral Olympic Rings or the Paralympic Agitos in their garden.

Gardeners are already taking up the opportunity to encourage local people to enjoy the Games and gardening together. To welcome the Olympic Torch-residents at Portesham in Dorset are planting golden marigolds while children at a nursery in Essex are creating the Olympic Rings out of painted tyres filled with flowers.

Schools in Burnley are planting apple trees and schools in Edinburgh are creating hanging baskets inspired by their chosen Olympic nation. London residents are creating wildflower meadows and growing vegetables in London 2012 colours for a gardening-themed sports day.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: ‘We are a nation of gardeners and Local Leaders are using London 2012 as an opportunity to get friends, family and neighbours together to brighten up their area and build on our proud gardening heritage.

‘Garden for the Games is a chance for the green-fingered to show off their skills and novices of all ages to learn about gardening and wildlife in their neighbourhood.’

As well as Local Leaders brightening up their streets and gardens for London 2012 and creating new habitats for wildlife, Local Authorities and not-for-profit organisations are bringing the excitement of London 2012 to towns, cities, parks and public spaces across the UK.

Floral Olympic Rings and the London 2012 colours and logos will be blooming in public gardens from Stafford to Princes Street in Edinburgh and in parks and public spaces from Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham to St Helens and Rugby. National Trust properties are also planning London 2012-themed gardens and activities, including at Chirk Castle in Wales, Wallington in Northumberland and Beningbrough in North Yorkshire.

Nigel Dunnett, wildflower expert from the University of Sheffield and creator of the Olympic Stadium wildflower meadows, said: ‘The beauty of wildflower meadows is that they are easy to sow and maintain over a small or large area, produce a burst of flower for the whole summer and are an oasis for bees, bugs and birds. What better excuse than the London 2012 Games to get together and make gardens and community spaces more colourful and welcoming for wildlife.’

Des Smith, Head Gardener for the London 2012 Gardens in the Olympic Park, said: ‘The Games are a great opportunity for people to get out gardening in their local community and give wildlife and the environment a boost. Whether you are planning to celebrate the Games with either the Olympic Rings, the Paralympic Agitos or backing Team GB with a red, white and blue floral display, you can get advice and support from your local garden centre or nursery and pick the most pollen-rich, bee and butterfly friendly flowers.’

Gardening expert and Local Leader Phil Turvil who has put together a list of vegetables to match the London 2012 colours said: ‘I'm excited by communities growing and sharing their tasty veg to celebrate the Games. From snug windowsills to shared gardens and allotments, there's a space for London 2012 coloured veg to harvest for family events and communal feasts.

‘These specially selected crops have enthusiastic varieties to tempt beginner and more ambitious growers. They'll race towards the cropping finish line with bright colours showing neighbourhood support for the world's athletes.”

LOCOG will also be providing advice and materials to help Local Leaders get people in their area together to line the street for the Olympic Torch Relay, hold an Opening Ceremony house party, host a Closing Ceremony BBQ, light lanterns for the Paralympic Torch Relay or run a London 2012-themed sports quiz.

Tips for Local Leaders on how they might ‘Garden for the Games’ include simple guides to:

  •      Plant your own Olympic Rings or Paralympic Agitos in your garden
  •     Grow golden marigolds for when the Olympic Torch Relay comes to your street or town
  •     Sow a colourful wildflower meadow - either a small strip in your garden or a large patch in a community area - which doubles as a haven for bees and other wildlife, like the golden meadows around the Olympic Stadium
  •     Get creative with vegetables and flowers in the London 2012 colours
  •     Grow a champions’ feast for a London 2012 party
  •     Plant in team colours to support your athletes or teams training in your area. Team GB supporters will be decking their lawns in red, white and blue.

Local Leaders already getting people together to ‘Garden for the Games’ include:

  •      Residents in Portesham in Dorset welcoming the Olympic Torch to town with beds of golden marigolds
  •     Children at a Nursery in Maldon, Essex, painting large old tyres in the colours of the Olympic Rings and planting gold flowers to celebrate the Torch Relay coming to their area
  •     Gardening Scotland running a competition for primary schools in Edinburgh to create hanging baskets inspired by one of the Olympic nations which will be displayed at their annual garden show
  •     The mayor of Amersham in Buckinghamshire aiming to brighten up every kerb and available garden in Amersham in celebratory London 2012 colours
  •     Tower Hamlets residents creating wildflower meadows inspired by the Olympic Park wildflower meadows
  •     The ‘Edible Bus Stop’ group growing vegetables in London 2012 colours at their bus stop in Lambeth and planning a gardening sports day
  •     Gransnet.com planning to encourage members to create window boxes with their grandchildren in the colour of their favourite Olympic or Paralympic team
  •     Schools in Burnley taking on an ‘orchard challenge’ to plant apple trees during 2012
  •     Master Gardeners and Garden Organic running ‘Garden for the Games’ tutorials across their gardens.

Notes to editors:

  •     For images of the wildflower meadows around the Olympic Stadium visit: http://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/locog?nav=pr163874857
  •     Local Leaders are able to plant the Olympic Rings and Paralympic symbol, which are protecting symbols, in their gardens. Guidance is available is available in the Garden for the Games flower guide.
  •     Local Authorities and many not-for-profit groups are also able to plant the symbols with prior approval from LOCOG

London 2012 Local Leaders
The ‘Local Leaders’ programme, an Organising Committee first, invites people across the UK to create their own Games celebrations. The programme is open from now up to the Olympic Torch Relay and other key moments during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London 2012 organisers are encouraging anyone who is looking to celebrate the London 2012 Games to sign up to be a Local Leader.

Whether they invite three friends or their whole community, London 2012 will provide them with the tools to make their celebration one to remember.

For people who want to be involved they just need to pick an occasion and get planning. The Local Leaders website has ideas, tools and tips to get people started planning an event.

Ideas put forward from communities across the UK include Garden for the Games, Line the Streets for the Olympic Torch Relay, hosting a sports quiz, party at home by throwing an Opening Night In and Super Saturday, the big medal-winning weekend during the Games.

For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office.

London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.

LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.

There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

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