Olympic Landscape Takes Gold

Photo by Nigel Dunnett

Sure, the London Olympics are practically ancient history by now, dozens of news cycles back.  But did you hear a word about the landscape created for the Games and now enjoyed by Londoners?  Me neither.

But according to the Evening Standard: “The real star of the Olympic site is the landscape design. It’s simply beautiful, with borders packed with mixed wildflowers, all blooming gaily thanks to the wet weather. Its hillocks and valleys, ordered by the waterways that run north–south through the park, make it a unique place, and give a flavour of what will be a wonderful public space after the Games.”

The 250 acres of wonderful space include “sculptural tectonic forms,” wetlands, and a “species-rich” meadow.

See lots more photos of the Olympic Village here.  And read more about it this article in The Dirt.

Photo by Andy Harris


  1. If this hasn’t got a lot of coverage across the pond it’s a real shame. In the UK the olympic park landscaping has (rightfully) had masses of coverage (but then it would and should have closer to home). The use of the annual/perennial manufactured meadows has been particularly heavily covered and I get the impression from the positivity around them that a lot of British public land could see these in future taking the place of annual bedding or grass.

  2. I live no more than 20 miles from Stratford in East London, home to the Olympic Park and I have to confess I did not want the Olympic games here although had to admit afterwards it had been very well done and highly successful. Surprising really as the previous 7 years getting the thing ready had been shrouded in incompetance and right up to two weeks before the start when the security company admitted it couldn’t cope and the military had to be sent in to the rescue.

    It is true the development did redevelop what was a very run down former industrial area. Problem is many people liked things the way they were. It was the environment they had known all their lives. I am grinding my axe about the matter on my own blog with an embedded you tube video showing how the land rented to ordinary people was taken away and redeveloped. As usual the remaining native Londoners views counted for nothing as the ”Bully Boys” of the Olympic commitee got their own way on everything. Ancient laws still in place regarding rights to common land and promises to preserve areas forever ignored.

    Now comes the problem of what to do with it all now it has served its purpose. Certainly there is not enough private money about. Of course it is good to see an area in decline revitalized and there will always be people who are inconvienienced and displaced. Probably overall the redeveloment is for the good.

    The sowing of wildflower meadows instead of mown grass is a welcome move and something which is becoming more and more popular. I believe this practice originates from Germany. Not only does it help many rare insects by providing much needed habitat, it cuts down on maintenance costs and in most cases looks very nice too. As the article says everything is looking very green and fresh this year due to an unusually wet spring and summer.

    The waterway which run through the park is the River Lea downstream. I live next to the same river although I am further upstream where the river is young. I show the map on my own blog. I wonder if the athletes realized that by the time the river reaches the Olympic park at Stratford it has passed by 10 sewage works. Although nowadays everything is treated and presumably safe for discharge.

    Sure those blue and orange wild flowers shown in the photo above next to the stadium look beautiful and very much more interesting than a big sheet of green and I hope there are more wild flower meadows sown over the coming years, not just here but in US and everwhere else.

    The axe I am grinding is demonstrated with this short video on you tube which I embedded into my site. It shows the vegetable plots and the plot holders discussing the loss of their gardens. They put up a fight but of course lost it as would be expected. Go to the URL here to watch it


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