These meadows were the largest of their kind when installed for the Olympics and provide colour, texture and are valuable habitats.
These lie in the north of the Park, along the banks of the River Lea, and include the gently sloped heart shaped lawn which is host to the Olympic Rings, as well as wide open areas planted with mature London plane trees.
A four-acre riverside grassy meadow in the north of the Park, Hopkins’ Field was named in memory of the inspirational landscape architect John Hopkins who oversaw the creation of the green spaces on the Park that visitors enjoyed during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Hopkins’ Field is sown with thyme, daisy, hawkbit, red clover and other nectar-rich species with a nine metre tall, 25 year-old red oak tree at the heart of the area.
Across the Park, more than 6,000 trees were planted as part of the construction and transformation of the park following the Games. Semi-mature trees grown at Hilliers nursery in Hampsire included London Plane, Oak and Tulip trees planted along the Park’s pathways and boulevards, with small-leaved lime and wild cherry giving way to white willow and alder along the rivers.
These trees give the parklands structure and identity providing shade, seasonal colour and biodiversity and many will mature over time to become large-scale specimens. In some areas of the Park, mature trees are used to create tree lined avenues, such as in the promenade in the south of the Park.
Trees providing shade are positioned as individuals or groups within lawns and meadows, reflecting the movement from drier upper-valley levels to river level. Occasional evergreen species such as holm oak provide green all year round, while other common shade trees include common alder, common ash, aspen, mountain ash and elm. In the Gardens, these include multi-stemmed birch, crab apple, hawthorn, acacia and the golden rain tree, Koelreuteria paniculata.
Trees contribute to biodiversity in the park - for instance the rare and declining native black poplar has pride of place along the river, in the Canal Park and in the wet woodlands. Some of these trees were grown from cuttings taken from the park/site before decontamination works were carried out and so have been brought back into the landscape.