Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic Glory

The North American planting: Echinacea pallida, purpurea and paradoxa. Photo:James Hitchmough

Something of an Olympic sceptic (our government is closing down sports centres all over the country) I'm glad to see a couple of good things have come out of the Olympics. That fantastic, and oh-so cool Britannia opening ceremony and the Olympic Park, with much of the planting designed by my colleagues at Sheffield Uni: James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett - it's revolutionary.

See my piece in The Daily Telegraph about the thinking behind the planting.

South African planting, designed by James Hitchmough, with white Galtonia candicans, pink-red Gladiolus papilio 'Ruby', pink Dierama pulcherrimum, blue Agapanthus campanulatus, and low-growing pink Diascia integerrima. The grass is Themeda triandra. 
Photo:James Hitchmough

Part of the South African planting, inspired by montane grassland of eastern SA. Photo:James Hitchmough

more from South Africa Photo:James Hitchmough

An area of British natives at the Olympic Park. These are all forbs (i.e. non-grassy species): including white Leucanthemum vulgare, pink Ononis spinosa, yellow Leontodon autumnalis and pale pink Malva moschata. Apart from the ononis, all were sown. Photo and design by James Hitchmough.

James Hitchmough's page is here.

Nigel Dunnett also from Sheffield's Dept. of Landscape has designed a whole series of
plantings based on British, European and east Asian plant communities. Some of these function as swales for absorbing water runnoff - an essential part of the SUDS - sustainable drainage system approach used at the Olympic Park. Photo credits: Nigel Dunnett

One of Nigel's swales, designed to ensure water is held amongst plants tolerant of waterlogging but not actually that moisture dependent. The bright pink is Lythrum salicaria, the white Leucanthemum vulgare.
Nigel Dunnett's website is here

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alex bishop said...

I have been lucky to visit the Olympic Park prior to events with a team of grounds maintenance team members who manage parks in London. We where very impressed with every aspect of the landscape, the design and just as important - the maintenance. The Olympic Parks is the solver and model for parks in Britain that have run out of steam and lack interest. We need now to pioneer this forward with more discussion with technicians, managers, landscape maintenance staff an educationalists.

Alison A. Pockat said...

This is delightful! I hope that they plan to leave this in place after the Olympics have ended.

Lisa said...

I loved looking at images of these gardens (in the Telegraph and Gardens Illustrated websites) and hope that they flourish in the years to come!

kat weatherill said...

I managed to visit the park in August and have to say the landscaping and the planting was fantastic. I hope that their plans to develop the park further over the next two years into a community park are a great success and that town/park planners sit up and tyake note!