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London: Hotels' 'living wall' is a garden that grows up, up and up

August 28, 2013|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • London's newest green landmark has been planted on the walls of two hotels near Buckingham Palace.
London's newest green landmark has been planted on the walls of two… (Rubens at the Palace )

The Rubens at the Palace hotel recently unveiled one of the largest "living walls" in London, a 3,770-square-foot vertical garden on the side of its building that features buttercups, strawberries, lavender and even geraniums.

The idea is to create a little ecosystem with flowers blooming year-round and one designed to draw bees, butterflies and birds to the urban spot sure to become a landmark. The vertical garden is packed with 16 tons of soil and 10,000 ferns and plants.

The wall takes up part of the Palace at 39 Buckingham Palace Road and sister property 41, both in the Victoria area right near Buckingham Palace.

"We take the issue of sustainable tourism very seriously, and this wall will minimize the hotel’s impact on the environment but also improve the air quality and aesthetic in this part of London," the hotel's website says. The wall will be irrigated by rainwater caught in rooftop tanks.

London has been promoting living roofs and walls throughout the city to help mitigate flooding by absorbing rain and improve the appearance of buildings.

Along with the hotels' wall comes some indoor inspiration too. For starters, visitors can choose the Living Wall Afternoon Tea at the Rubens that includes wild strawberry cheesecake, lavender cupcake, violet ganache and rose petal macaroon, among other items. The cost is $47 per person.

Or they can try new cocktails (at $18 each) such as the English Garden, which is a mix of Bloom gin, elderflower, ginger ale, basil, strawberries and lemon.

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
Follow us on Twitter @latimestravel, like us on Facebook @Los Angeles Times Travel.

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