Great British Gardens
One of the Park’s best kept secrets, the Great British Garden was one of its most loved areas during the London 2012 Games, and is now being rediscovered by visitors as an idyllic destination for a quiet stroll or a moment’s peace.
Renowned garden designer Sarah Price worked from a brief set by two amateur horticulturalists, Rachel Read and Hannah Clegg, winners of a competition by the Royal Horticultural Society to design this beautiful corner of the Park.
The Great British Garden intermingles rich and varied new planting designed for the London 2012 Games with existing trees that had crowded the banks of the canal for decades. These trees (mostly Sycamore) now form a natural barrier between the tranquil gardens and the hustle and bustle of the Stadium which sits over the water.
The Garden is designed to take visitors on a journey of discovery through three gardens themed on the colours of Olympic medals: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
The bronze section features reds, oranges and other fiery tones; the silver section features a human sized sundial set within an area of silver coloured paving, and in the gold section, spiral planting led visitors to a stately oak tree. One of the oak trees in this gardens was grown in Kew Gardens from an acorn collected from the tree that Baron Pierre De Coubertin planted in 1894 to thank the citizens of Much Wenlock for inspiring the founding of the modern Olympic Games. Beyond this large oak is one of the parks four frog ponds providing valuable habitat and beautiful backdrop to the garden.
During the Games, archways that link the sections of the Great British Garden together were covered with good luck messages for athletes which visitors had threaded into the foliage.
Sarah Price’s design for the Garden unified the themed areas with the textures of ornamental grasses, alongside long-flowering perennials such as Persicaria amplexicaulis, Stachys officinalis, Veronicastrum and pink Lythrum virgatum.