Transport for London has announced the winners of its annual staff gardening competition, ‘In Bloom’. The competition that launched over 100 years ago sees flower-fanatics of the TfL workforce dedicate their free time to create some blooming gorgeous gardens at stations, depots, control rooms and offices.
The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth‘. The environmental focus compliments TfL’s ongoing work to protect and improve the environment and help tackle the increasing threats of the climate crisis. Protecting and improving the environment is a key priority for Transport for London.
The competition gives stations and their staff the opportunity to showcase their work and creativity, whilst bringing a sense of wellbeing and calm to the millions of Londoners that use the transport network everyday.
There were 57 entries across the network, featuring a variety of gardens in collaboration with local people and businesses. From fruit and vegetable patches to air-purifying plants; the gardens were judged by more than 40 volunteers and the 2023 winners were announced at an awards ceremony at City Hall.
Morden scooped the Best in Show award, along with the Fruit & Vegetables category. Staff at the station have been growing fruit and vegetables on the station’s disused platform for around eight years and have also created a wellness meeting space, sheltered by flowers, for staff meetings.
Highbury & Islington won in the Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth category. The small yet impactful garden situated inside the station entrance proves that size really doesn’t matter after all.
The other categories and winners are as follows:
- Cultivated Station Garden – Acton Town station. A disused platform has been transformed into a riot of colour, growing plants in a variety of recycled containers. Sculptures and wind chimes enhance the sensory elements of the garden
- Environment – Northfields Train Crew Accommodation (TCA), where drivers take their breaks while on shift. The garden is designed around sustainability, with water butts to collect rainwater and compost bins. Most of the garden has been grown from seed or created from cuttings, and has been developed year after year
- Best Newcomer – Hammersmith Service Control Centre. In just a few months, a group of staff overhauled a disused area behind the building to create multiple planters and a gathering area for colleagues. The project brought the team together, introducing staff who work different shifts and wouldn’t otherwise meet
- Cultivated Depot Garden – Upminster TCA. This spacious and peaceful station garden holds memorial plaques for former staff who have passed away. Featuring a range of beautiful, colourful plants and a fig tree, and regular visits from hedgehogs and birds, it is a space where staff can reflect and take a break
- Indoor Garden – Blackhorse Road. A stunning garden created by station staff and with the help of the convenience store in the station and local businesses. With a cheerful feel and recycling message, the garden uses mix of artificial and real plants to ensure it lifts customers’ spirits
- John Knight Hanging Baskets, Tubs and Window Boxes Award – Hainault TCA. Train driver Julia Bryant transformed an outdoor area in just three months, making the most of small spaces with a range of tubs and baskets. Part of the garden is dedicated to a WW1 memorial
- Sandra Wilkes Community Award – South Tottenham station, London Overground. With the help of students from the local community, staff have transformed this large garden with range of flowers, vegetables and other plants, with painted roundels adding extra decoration
- Best Seasoned Entry – Barking TCA. Wellbeing is the focus of this garden, with staff putting great effort into making it a peaceful environment with crystals and a range of fragrant herbs. A water butt and compost bin add to the garden’s sustainability credentials
Mark Evers, TfL’s Chief Customer Officer, said: “As a judge in our fiercely contested In Bloom competition, I am always so impressed by the fresh ideas, creativity and energy that staff and local people and businesses bring to these gardens, benefitting both staff and people travelling around the city. While the gardens bring an element of tranquillity, inviting Londoners to slow down and savour a moment in nature, this year’s theme reflects the increasing urgency of tackling climate change, and the pace at which we are working as an organisation towards a cleaner, greener transport network.”
Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “I am truly impressed by the dedication and creativity demonstrated by TfL staff at the annual ‘In Bloom’ competition. These gardens will bring a sense of calm and wellbeing to staff and people using the transport network. The threats of climate change are increasing day by day. The theme for this year’s competition illustrates that all of us can play our part in creating a healthier planet and supports the Mayor’s aim to continue building a cleaner, greener and more prosperous London for everyone.”