In the central London district of Victoria, the Rubens at the Palace Hotel has a new and super-green feature: a 21-meter-high vertical garden covering one of its road-facing sides. The garden contains 10,000 pollinating plants, many of them native to the area, and 16 tons of soil, and is nourished by rainwater collected from storage tanks on the roof and by normal rainfall. That water is carefully channeled through the plants so as not to leave too much on the street below. The garden also serves as an “air-filtering, biodiversity powerhouse” because of its ability to disperse heat and capture polluting particulate matter.
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What’s the Big Idea?
Flooding is a serious concern for parts of London, and has repeatedly caused subway closures that affect local businesses. The vertical garden commissioned by the Victoria Business Improvement District is one type of sustainable drainage system (SUD) Mayor Boris Johnston wants to help spread through his administration’s Drain London project. Some of the other ideas completed or in the works include a biodiversity garden at Buckingham Palace and a rain garden outside a large department store.