Gardeners object to advice on what to plant for London 2012 Olympics
PEOPLE living along the route of the Olympic cycle road race in the UK have objected to being "advised" how to plant their gardens to fit in with the 2012 Games colours and logos.
Mole Valley district council in Surrey sent emails telling people they should plant displays and hanging baskets with a “vibrant colour palette” after receiving guidelines from the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games [LOCOG] which even specify which flowers to use.
Richard Roberts-Miller, the chairman of Mickleham parish council, said he was not impressed with the “order from on high” on how he should be doing his garden next year. “Some people might wonder whether this should be high up the council’s agenda,” he said.
Judy Kinloch, the chairman of Mickleham and Westhumble Horticultural Society, added: “I was not totally happy about telling people what colours they had to use.”
The emails sent to residents’ associations told them that LOCOG has “tight control over how the Games will look”.
Home owners and businesses along the Olympic cycle road race route, which passes through Surrey, are being advised how to ensure the petunias, roses and other flowers in their front gardens match the colours of the games.
Riders will cycle along the A25 through Westcott, along Dorking High Street, up Box Hill and into Leatherhead.
One million spectators are expected to be drawn to Surrey to view the race — in particular the area around Box Hill, which will be circled nine times in the men’s race — on July 28 and 29. Millions more will watch on televisions around the world.
The council email tells gardeners: “The look of the Games can extend further than the Olympic Park and citywide street dressing.
“The UK is world-renowned for its gardens and green landscapes and we can utilise these to bolster the spirit of the Games.
“Whether by using existing hanging baskets and flower beds or creating something entirely new, creative planting using the vibrant colour palette and the London 2012 shapes and patterns might be a project you want to consider.”
Colour combinations that people should adopt are green, blue, purple and orange, together with the pink and yellow of the London 2012 logo, and each should be used equally. Even the species and shape of recommended plants are listed by LOCOG, says the council, which insists the advice to homes and businesses along the route is not “prescriptive”.
Not everyone is against the idea.
Alexandra Florides, who runs Rose’s Stores in Mickleham, which the cyclists will pass several times, said she plans to put up hanging baskets in the Olympic colours.
“It’s a positive thing and will help to make it look really nice. I’m sure the public will like to see it,” she said.
Darren Mepham, the chief executive of the district council, said LOCOG had asked the council to forward on the advice to gardeners.
“Next year’s cycle races will provide us with a wonderful opportunity to promote our district, connect with our communities and support the local economy,” he said.
“Our aim is to support groups such as parish councils and residents’ associations who would like information about the Games, while respecting the views of those looking to either mark the occasion in their own way or not planning to celebrate the games.”