Morden tube station’s disused platform garden has been judged the best in the annual “In Bloom” competition for the best garden on the Transport for London (TfL) network.
Each year, TfL staff dedicate their own free time to create gardens at stations, depots, and offices, often in collaboration with local people and businesses, and each year, the best are awarded prizes.
The competition launched more than a century ago at the time of the District Railway, and over the decades staff have made creative use of space on the transport network with flower beds, vegetable patches, hanging baskets and window boxes on platforms, balconies and in spaces as small as control room windows.
Morden Tube station in south London 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, growing a wide variety of foods, which are shared with colleagues and customers. They have also created a wellness meeting space, sheltered by flowers, for staff meetings.
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.”
The other categories and winners are as follows:
Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth – Highbury and Islington station. The small yet impactful garden situated inside the station entrance proves what can be done with a modest indoor space.
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
The annual In Bloom competition is open to all TfL stations and offices with more than 25 employees.