The London Blossom Garden
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 1DY
Mayor of London, National Trust
Complete May 2021
We were invited to submit a proposal, responding to a brief from the Mayor of London (GLA) and the National Trust to create a garden featuring a blossoming tree ring for reflection and in recognition of the many that have endured COVID-19 pandemic in London. Partnering with Adam White and Andree Davies of the award-winning Davies White Landscape Architects (DW) our collaborative design was awarded the commission. The garden is situated in the heart of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next to the Timber Lodge with its entrance on Honour Lea Ave. It features 33 blossoming trees, to represent the 33 boroughs; including the City of London, set out in three separate rings. The ‘London’ theme is further reinforced with 33 bands running through the newly created path.
Our design presents a mixture of 33 semi-mature blossom trees, a variety of pollinator-friendly herbaceous perennials and wildflower bands set within a species-rich lawn. Responding to the brief, we designed a sustainably produced pathway to increase accessibility into and through the space, providing three inclusively designed seating areas each adjacent to a blossom ring, for visitors to rest and reflect.
The Edible Bus Stop (EBS) and DW worked closely with the London Legacy Development Corporation’s Design Principal for Landscape and Public Realm, the Olympic Park’s Park Services Manager and idverde the Parks Contractor, to ensure the design fitted within the existing framework for park design, accessibility, and biodiversity.
A central path is a key feature of the design to ease accessibility to the site. For this element, we combined concrete stamped with woodgrain, interspersed with bands of Greenheart reclaimed tropical timber as well as bands of concrete mixed with a high amount of visible marble aggregate to create tonal breaks. The reclaimed tropical timber can also be found within the batons of the benches. This ensures the path and benches share a family of material components. Local artisans - led by Junior Phipps of Conscious Forms, working with Flee Jones of Felicity Jones Metalwork and Dan Gritten - Cabinet Maker and Woodworker, co-designed the benches with Mak Gilchrist of the EBS.
All the wood utilised in the benches is FSC certified reclaimed tropical timber originating from sites within London, including fenders from the Olympic Parks lock. The design fits within the existing Biodiversity Action Plan for the park, and despite the additional hard landscaped elements needed to maximise accessibility, there is overall net biodiversity gain due to the increase and enhancement of existing perennials, extra species-rich lawn, plus the addition of the 33 semi-mature blossom trees.