Sea of gold surrounds Olympic Park

A SEA of gold has surrounded the 2012 Olympic Stadium, two years before athletes compete for their gold medals.

The riverbank meadow of cornflowers, marigolds, Californian poppies and prairie flowers is part of a trial of flowers to get a stunning display of golden blooms out just in time for the Opening Ceremony.

It is the first of over ten football fields worth of nectar-rich wildflower meadows in the Olympic Park which will provide a colourful setting for the Games and attract bees, butterflies and other wildlife to the park.

Wildflower experts from the University of Sheffield have designed a range of late flowering annual and perennial meadows for the Olympic Park using a diverse mix of colourful plants.

They will be sown later in the planting season and cut back to ensure they are in bloom throughout the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Olympic Delivery Authority Chief Executive David Higgins said: “The wildflower meadows, wetlands, woods and lawns in the Olympic Park will provide a green and colourful setting in 2012 and a new great park for people and wildlife after the Games.

“With two years until the Games the Parklands are already taking shape and the site is going from brown to green with meadows blooming, hundreds of trees and thousands of wetland plants being planted. We are doing everything possible to ensure this is a great park for Games and legacy and a showcase for British park design.”

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Nigel Dunnett of the University of Sheffield said: “The Olympic Park meadows have been carefully formulated to flower at their peak during the Games, producing exciting, vibrant sheets of uplifting colour, with high biodiversity value. To achieve this peak performance, with a beautiful blend of colours at exactly the right time is no mean feat, and is based on many years of research and practical experience at the University of Sheffield. We are extremely encouraged and excited by the results from the sowings this year.”