Just after the equestrian cross country day on 31st July our gardeners got to work restoring the park. In early August the ground was prepared through raking and then drill seeding. Drill seeding buries seeds in a slit of soil to prevent the birds from eating them - this gives the young grass a good start. By October over three quarters of the park was opened up to the public and restored to its pre-Games condition, if not better.
Over on Queen's Field, site of the Equestrian arena, a different approach was required. The last of the temporary venue structures were removed at the end of November and this meant that the ground was too cold to sow seed. The best option was therefore to prepare the ground and lay turf.
Laying 35,000 square metres of turf is not a quick job. Fortunately our team of gardeners, under experienced supervision, are well practised. Ground preparation is the key to laying good lawns. Under the Equestrian arena the grass had died, however the soil was in good condition. The ground was de-compacted by punching thousands of drainage holes. Dead grass was then removed through scarification, followed by a couple of passes with the chain harrow and a final hand rake created the perfect bed for laying turf.
At the same time as this restoration work is taking place, we are carrying out a major refurbishment to the roads and footpaths in the park. We assessed them before the London 2012 events and after the temporary venue was removed. Some roads and footpaths had deteriorated during this time and some were already in need of general repair. By the end of March the roads and paths will be restored beyond their pre-Games condition. In addition to this we are also in the process of installing new gates at Blackheath Gate.
It's all go, but in just a few months Greenwich Park will look better than ever.