Stratford gardens will “blow away” 2012 visitors

It’s taken two years to achieve but finally the planting of thousands of shrubs and bulbs at the Olympic Park to create a bloomin’ colourful welcome to next summer’s visitors to the Games has been completed.

Stratford now boasts the UK’s largest new urban park for more than a century – some 250 acres of new parklands risen from former industrial land.

And to help mark the end of the planting programme was the BBC’s Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins – lending an expert hand in planting an English oak sapling in the Royal Horticultural Society Great British Garden area.

It is a quarter-of-an-acre riverside garden overlooking the Olympic Stadium. I

He was joined by Rachel Read from Colchester, Essex, and Hannah Clegg, 12, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, who won design competitions.

The Olympic Parklands contain 4,000 semi-mature trees, over 300,000 wetland plants and more than 10 football fields-worth of nectar-rich annual and perennial meadows designed and sown to flower during the Games.

Chris said the achievement in turning a brown site to green is remarkable.

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Spectators will find it hard, he added, not to be “blown away” next summer with the diverse and colourful park.

Olymic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt paid testament to the hard work and planning that has gone into the initial clean-up process and subsequent planting programme.

Meanwhile, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson said: “The parklands are a key feature of the Olympic Park landscape and will give visitors a place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of London 2012 between sport events.”