Elephants and green walls

elephantThese 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 elephants have been seen all over London and are now coralled before the auction which will be on July 3rd.

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 green wallform 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.


  1. Robur says:

    An exotics nursery near me, Akamba, has life-size elephants for sale as garden ornaments. Enormously expensive.

    Don’t know if this link to a photo will work:

    Those Chelsea elephants look a bit sanitised; elephants need to look wild.

    Schools and playgroups might be interested.

  2. green walls are supposed to absorb heat – not reflect – which in turn cools urban areas – and so forth reduce the heat island effect created by ‘concrete cities’ – however may not be a huge issue for london as opposed to cities in hotter climates

  3. Reduced heat island effect? Free standing wall? As a shade barrier, allowing a breeze to circulate, preventing the wall of the building accumulating heat, and heating the room inside, and ultimately heating up the city? And the air around the planted wall would be cooler than if it wasn’t there.

    We had to add an outside shade (just ugly green plastic woven shade cloth) over the west facing wall of the kitchen. The inside surface of that wall was too hot to touch before, and then the excess heat radiated back thru the house.

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