These elephants are made of fibre-glass, have been painted by artists and are to be auctioned by a charity, Elephant Family, that is out to save the Asian elephant. Asian elephants are much better behaved than African ones. (who undoubtedly need saving too as they have fallen foul of the poacher for their tusks and competition for land as well).
At the moment round about 300 of these beasts are sitting right in the middle of a dusty maidan in the grounds of the Chelsea Royal Hospital, waiting to be auctioned off. They are occupying a space that a few weeks ago would have been at the epicentre of the Chelsea Flower Show. Every trace of which has completely disappeared. A scorched earth totality.
The sprinklers were on to enliven the grass beneath the elephants and we did not completely manage to duck them in time. Went on from there to a party, soaked. Puzzled enquiry: Why were the elephants being watered? I’m not a Londoner and so stumbled upon the highly coloured pachyderm collection with total delight. Delight heightened by the evening light and arcs of water playing across them.
The next morning, the route for home and out of the elephant zone took us past Buckingham Palace. Opposite the palace in Buckingham Palace Road was an even better visual treat: A green wall. This has been installed by Biotecture, a company based in Sussex. Four plants have been used: Soleirolia soleirolii, Euonymus minimus, Liriope muscari and Pachysandra terminalis.
On a plaque on the back-side of the wall (this sounds a bit strange but the wall is like a form of solid, living scaffolding) Biotecture company have posted a useful sign which says it all: Plants are grown vertically in a patented modular, hydroponic-fed system. The benefits of green wall include reduced thermal loading on buildings, natural air filtration, reduced heat-island effect, sound attenuation and creation of urban ecological habitat. I’ve printed this pretty much verbatim as it all seems believable – that is, apart from the heat island effect which puzzles me.
All that apart, it has high visual appeal.