(PRWEB) May 13, 2012
After two years of trials and research, the UK’s largest ever man-made wildflower meadows were sown this week to flower gold around the Olympic Stadium in 77 days’ time.
The riverbank meadows of bee-friendly cornflowers, marigolds, Californian poppies and prairie flowers have been especially designed to flower late by international wildflower expert Professor Nigel Dunnett from the University of Sheffield. They will bloom gold just in time for the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
The sowing of the last of more than ten football fields’ worth of nectar-rich wildflower meadows marks the final preparations of the gardens, lawns, woodlands and wetlands that will provide the colourful setting for the Games and become a new park for people and wildlife for generations to come.
The bulk of the planting of the 4,000 trees, 300,000 wetland plants, 15,000 square metres of lawns and more than 150,000 perennial plants and bushes in the Olympic Park and Village was completed in the autumn by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Throughout the winter and spring the dedicated team of specialist gardeners and horticulturists have been battling the elements to ensure that the Park reaches its colourful peak this summer. This has included wrapping trees through winter and cutting back thousands of early-flowering plants so that they reach their best in July.
Across the UK experts and novices are getting together with friends, families and neighbours to ‘Garden for the Games’ and bring the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to their area. Thousands have already signed up to be Local Leaders, pupils at Garnetbank Primary School in Glasgow have planted a wildflower meadow in their school playground and residents on Poplar, Tower Hamlets are brightening up their estate with wildflowers this summer. People can find out how to sow theur own wildflower meadow at http://www.london2012.com/localleaders
Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, 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.’
Professor Nigel Dunnett, University of Sheffield, said:
‘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. In just a few weeks visitors to the Olympic Park and TV 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.’
Sarah Raven, presenter of recent BBC2 documentary ‘Bees, butterflies and blooms’ and author of ‘Wild Flowers’, said:
’There's no better way to get almost instant colour and nectar into your garden than sowing an annual meadow mix – and with all this rain, it could not be a better time. Give the area a quick rake and then just scatter the seeds into any bare bit of ground in the sunshine. Within weeks the Olympic Park and potentially your garden will be ablaze with abundant colour as well as butterflies and bees, with all the food being provided. Do your own bit and join this brilliant initiative.’
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, 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 is a tribute to the UK’s horticultural expertise.’
Olympic Park meadows
Features of the Olympic Park parklands during and after the Games include:
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.
Tips for Local Leaders on how they might ‘Garden for the Games’ include simple guides to:
Notes to editors:
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.