Gardens in tube stations are a thing — in fact an annual gardening competition stretches back more than 100 years, when green-fingered members of the District line staff (fitting tube line colour) started planting fruits, veg and other plants.
Fast forward to 2023, and TfL has just announced the winners of its 'In Bloom' competition — the theme being 'Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth.' 57 gardens took part — and there were some creative winners from the members of staff who give up their free time to put together pocket gardens in unused parts of stations, using everything from hanging baskets to empty crates. (We should point out that while some gardens are public, others are staff only.)
Morden won the Best in Show award, and the Fruit & Vegetables category; staff have been growing the likes of sour cherries, chilli peppers, apricots, limes, kale and gooseberries here for eight years now — sometimes even sharing their produce with passengers.
Highbury & Islington scooped the titular Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth category. Thousands of commuters admire this tiny oasis every day — which is occupied by air-cleansing likes of ivy, kentia palms and peace lilies.
Acton Town is in the plum position of having a whole disused platform to work with. With its colourful plants, many grown in recycled containers — plus sculptures and wind chimes — it was awarded Cultivated Station Garden, and is there to be admired by anyone passing through.
Other 2023 winners include Blackhorse Road (Indoor Garden), Barking (Best Seasoned Entry), Northfields Train Crew Accommodation (Environment), Hammersmith Service Control Centre (Best Newcomer) and Upminster Train Crew Accommodation (Cultivated Depot Garden).
All images © TfL