Royal Bank of Canada Rain Garden
10 October 2012
The Royal Bank of Canada Rain Garden is one of three Sustainable Gardens found at the London Wetlands Centre. Designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett, the garden was opened in 2010 as part of the 10th anniversary of the London Wetland Centre, Barnes.
Professor Dunnett, who also created the wildflower meadows around the Olympic Stadium, has designed this garden to demonstrate the importance of water conservation. The aim is to inspire visitors to implement water-saving and rain garden techniques in their own gardens.
The focus of the garden is a pavillion that collects rainwater and supplies it to the garden. Water is passed to from the rooftop of this pavillion, through a series of circular beds filled with a range of plants including Caltha palustris, Iris pseudacorus, Lythrum salicaria and Ligularia ‘Little Rocket’. In times of excessive rainfall and flooding, these plants absorb as much water as they can, with any excess runoff overflowing into the next bed. But similarly they can withstand dry periods when there is no rainfall.
The garden cleverly incorporates a pump that allows visitors to transfer water from the stream (running through the garden) to the circular beds, and create the rainwater cycle themselves.
‘From day one, the garden has been full of children and adults enjoying the interaction with water and nature,' says Simon Rose, Developments Manager for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. 'They all come away knowing what rain gardens are all about. That’s exactly what we wanted.’