Green-fingered residents across the borough have been recognised for their Islington in Bloom entries, as local people continue to play their part in creating a cleaner, greener, healthier future.
Islington was awash with colour this summer, as the annual, borough-wide horticultural competition encouraged budding gardeners and seasoned experts to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of gardening.
Run jointly by Islington Council and Islington Gardeners, the competition provides an opportunity for local people to support the council’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency and create a more environmentally-friendly, equal borough. By taking part, this year’s 232 entrants have helped boost biodiversity, with plantings also helping to improve air quality by removing pollutants from the air.
This year, judges had a greater focus on the positive impact that entries made to biodiversity in the borough. The quality of the entrants in 2022 was higher than ever, and the winners were as follows:
Best Community Garden: Freightliners City Farm
Best Parks Community Garden: Caledonian Park Friends Group
Best Housing Community Garden: St Luke’s Community Centre
Best Front Garden: Anne Monaghan
Best Container Garden: Louise Souter
Best Window Box: Jamie Woo
Best Children’s Planting: Willow Children’s Centre
Best Edible Garden: Octopus Community Plant Nursery
Best Blooming Business: Humdingers
Best Tree Pit: Gordon McArthur
Children’s Poster Competition: Lola Woollard from William Tyndale Primary School
Winners, runners-up and third-placed entries in each category received a National Garden gift voucher, and all entrants have been given a compost voucher for the Camden Garden Centre to encourage them to continue to garden.
This year’s Best Community Garden category was won by Freightliners City Farm, a charitable organisation where staff and volunteers of all ages help look after animals and plants. To help maximise their already impressive community garden, Freightliners has recently created a new ornamental garden, boasting ponds, wet plants, and botanical beds.
Liz McAllister, Chief Executive at Freightliners, said: “We find that people of all ages enjoy taking part in the work that we do at Freightliners and gain benefit from this, especially the younger people, some of whom have struggled in the classroom setting but enjoy more hands-on work.
“Our volunteers find that tending to the community garden is a really therapeutic activity, which helps improve physical fitness, is fun and brings people together. Being recognised by Islington in Bloom is fantastic for our staff and volunteers, who have put so much work in during this past year.”
In recognition of the efforts of local people and volunteers across the borough, the council received a number of awards in this year’s London in Bloom – in the Park of the Year, Small Park of the year, and Conversation Area categories, including a Gold in the City category. Meanwhile, Frieghtliners was recognised with the Judges Award.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality, and Transport, said: “Islington in Bloom provides an opportunity for people across our borough to come together to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of gardening, and to do their bit to support biodiversity.
“As we continue to face climate and ecological emergencies, we’re working hard to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough by improving green spaces and creating biodiversity. The Islington in Bloom awards helps to support and empower local people to play their role by sprucing up their gardens, creating a colourful window display, or by growing gorgeous house plants.
“The quality of this year’s entries was outstanding, and we congratulate all the worthy winners. Even though the competition is closed for this year, there are still plenty of ways you can support Islington’s biodiversity – whether that be volunteering with Friends of Parks groups, joining local gardening groups, volunteering at our ecology centre, or by having fun growing plants.”
Further information on the volunteering opportunities and activities at Islington’s parks and green spaces are available on the council’s website.
Islington in Bloom would not be possible without the competition’s fantastic sponsors, including Camden Garden Centre, Angel Central, Floatworks, Islington Council’s Housing Department, Islington Gardeners, The Islington Society, NSL, and Cass Art Islington.
The winners in each category were announced during a special event on Tuesday (27 September) evening at OMNOM, a vegan restaurant, event space, and yoga studio. OMNOM is also a charity, which provides a hot, nutritionally balanced meal for a child for every meal they serve and every yoga class that people attend.