Plant Life

The lake contains water lilies and other aquatic plants. When you go to the smaller, hidden, part of the lake – between Wallside and Mountjoy House – you find water lilies, whose plate-like leaves grow each summer to engulf the lake surface. They grow very fast during the summer months. Apparently, in the past you could sometimes see fish flopping onto the leaves to get cool.


The Corporation refurbished the lake in 2004 and added beds of grasses. The grasses are planted into coconut matting which also contains special aquatic soil. I seem to recall we used to grow mustard and cress in a similar manner as children. The problem is that as fast as the gardeners planted them, the ducks and the Canada geese pulled them out. The gardeners won the battle in the end. So now we have three or more green rectangles, rather like Mohican haircuts, sprouting out of the water. If it is good for fish or birdlife, then fine, but I don’t particularly like them because they are too regular. ‘Regular’ works with built areas but not with supposedly natural elements.

Chamberlin Powell & Bon realised this when they laid out the garden beds on the northern podium in Salvador Dali-like melting shapes. I suspect no-one with any artistic sensibility was involved in these floating green litmus papers. The same committee probably redesigned the ‘weir’ with its silly dribbling arrangement. I rest my case.

The igloos in the lake have various climbing plants. Jasmine grows right over the top of one of them. Another is shaded by a large Kiwi Fruit. The plant with the attractive yellow flowers is Ligularia.

The waterfall structure also contains a quantity of bushes and shrubs.