Islington Gardeners honoured for growing success

Thomas Pollard Edwards Architects win the best blooming business award. Picture by Dieter Perry

Thomas Pollard Edwards Architects win the best blooming business award. Picture by Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Award winners receive blooming prizes

Despite having less green space than anywhere else in London, the passion, skill and ingenuity of Islington’s gardeners came to the fore at an annual award ceremony.

Islington in Bloom 2013, co-sponsored by the Gazette, showed off the borough’s flower beds, tree-pits, secret gardens and unsung green-fingered heroes at a gala do at the Islington Assembley Hall, in Upper Street, last Tuesday.

Categories included children’s planting, container gardens, front garden, food growing garden, forgotten corner, community gardens and more. Orla Maccarron, 10, a pupil at St Joan of Arc School, in Northolme Road, Highbury, picked up first prize and vouchers in the poster competition for her depiction of a flower garden.

The budding graphic designer said: “The idea for the poster came from when I was in Equador. I saw a flower market there and I really liked all the colours.

“I am really pleased to have won – I think I will use the vouchers for art supplies.”

Meanwhile another winner was cursing the callous thieves who ransacked his prize-winning entry just after it was nominated.

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Richard Payne, whose display outside his home in Liverpool Road, Islington, won him a prize, said: “After I completed the entry, but before I had found out I had won, someone came in and nicked two ornaments from my garden; a wooden man and a wooden skull.

“I just can’t understand the mentality of these people. I mean, what are they going to do with them, sell them down the pub?

“Or is he going to take that wooden skull home and say to his missus ‘look what I went out and bought you’? It’s so pointless.”

Lynne Friel and Alexa Hicks picked up the prize for best small neighbourhood on behalf of Mayton Street, in Holloway. They said working together to “take back their street” had brought neighbours closer, especially youngsters.

And despite being devastated by fire in the summer, Sunnyside Community Garden, in Hazellville Road, Hornsey Rise, which provides horticultural therapy for those with disabilities or mental health problems, managed third place in the community garden category.

The evening came to an end with an impassioned plea from Morgan Pegg, from the council’s Greenspace team who compered the evening.

She said: “We want to continue Islington and Bloom, but it is getting more and more difficult to run amid the cuts.

“We are grateful for all the work everyone has done making the borough look so good, but we need anyone who can spare a few hours each week to help us keep it going.”