Acres of new trees for London

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A two–year planting programme to create the UK's largest new urban park for more than a century on the London 2012 Olympic Park has been completed.Photo: Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins and Phil Askew of the ODA Park and Public Realm celebrate the milestone with competition winners Rachel Read and Hannah Clegg

Some 250 acres of new parklands has been created from former industrial land by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), providing a colourful atmosphere for the London 2012 Games and beyond. The BBC's Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins marked the milestone by helping with the final plant in the Royal Horticultural Society Olympic Park Great British Garden, a riverside garden overlooking the Olympic Stadium. Rachel Read and 12–year–old Hannah Clegg, who won a London 2012 competition to help design the garden, were also on hand to enjoy the new–look Park. Chris Collins said: " Spectators will find it hard not to be blown away next summer as the effort which has been put into creating a diverse and colourful park has really paid off. This area of London is set to become an exciting new destination for families and friends after the Games. " International inspirationThe Olympic Parklands contain 4, 000 semi–mature trees, over 300, 000 wetland plants and more than ten football fields worth of nectar–rich annual and perennial meadows designed and sown to flower during the London 2012 Games. A riverside London 2012 Garden stretches for half a mile between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium, featuring 120, 000 plants from 250 different species across the world, arranged by temperate regions. The parklands area will also become a haven for wildlife and plants, with new habitats created for species including otter, kingfisher, grey heron and water vole. Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt said: " A new park has been created for London and it is a testament to the hard work and planning that has gone into the initial clean–up process and subsequent planting programme. It was a fitting end to the parklands programme that Hannah and Rachel could put the last plant into place. ","43

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