The London Wetland Centre: A Great Garden in the Heart of London.

If you hadn’t thought of a wetland as a garden, then please think again. All the elements of natural beauty, native planting, seasonal interest, open space, and water are present in a wetland. For me and for my son the London Wetland Centre is a fantastic garden. We had one of our many visits there this week and I thought I would share with you some of the simple pleasures he loves there.

  • The trail of the duck feet marked on the ground leading to explore the children’s adventure play area.
  • The mock duck nest and its eggs, together with the ‘dinosaur’ bones.
  • The new webcam set up in a pond, filming both on top and under the water. He spent ages operating this, focusing, zooming in and out, and looking at the screen to see what he had found.
  • The pathways that lead off the main pathways and then rejoin later on.
  • The willow dens, both when they are covered in leaves and in their winter state.
  • The foot operated water pump in the new rain garden.

And for me there is always something new. This time it was the new rain garden. Opened by Alan Titchmarsh in September it shows how gardens can be sustainable by capturing and using rainfall. It forms a series of rain gardens, fed from the roof of a pavilion.  This is made from a converted cargo container and  provides living space for animals and insects in its walls and a green roof. There is a prism to view the  green roof.

I do not have a full photo of the garden to show you as was so bowled over by the fact that a flower meadow was still flowering in November that I concentrated on the flowers.  I have since learnt that they are from Pictorial Meadows. They provide an unique colourful meadow-flower seed mixes that rapidly produce a naturally vibrant display with an extended flowering season. The mixes contain no grass and all the green foliage you see are part of the plants.

So Wetlands are not all about birds, though there is presently a bittern at the London Wetland Centre and plenty of other wildfowl to see and things to do.  And, oh yes, there are also at least the six water voles we saw at the Wetland Centre in Arundel this summer.

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