Jennie Chamberlain, chair of Islington Gardeners, appeals for entries to club’s first photo competition

Islington Gardeners chair, Jennie Chamberlain, enjoying her well-kept garden. Picture: Shardell Jose

Islington Gardeners chair, Jennie Chamberlain, enjoying her well-kept garden. Picture: Shardell Joseph - Credit: Archant

If you’ve ever spotted a tiny, colourful flowerbed in the middle of a drab street, it might just be the work of Islington Gardeners.

Jennie Chamberlain, who chairs the group, is one of the pioneers of “forgotten corners” – sprucing up disused patches within the community – and many other initiatives to “green up” the borough.

Following in the footsteps of her green-fingered mother, Jennie took to gardening later in life. Joining the group 20 years ago, she wanted to pursue her passion for gardening while getting more involved in the community where she lived.

“I had a next door neighbour who was interested,” she said, “and together we wanted to go to talks, go on outings and just generally join in with other people interested in gardening-related matters.”

Increasing her involvement within the group over time, Jennie became the chair six years ago.

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She’s now one of eight committee members responsible for Islington Gardeners’ talks, outings and events.

One of the biggest dates in the Gardeners’ calendar is Islington Bloom – an annual horticultural competition in partnership with Islington Council. The Gazette sponsors a category each year, most recently the “best retail street” award that went to Highbury Barn last month.

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“Campaigns like Islington in Bloom are very important for greening the borough,” said Jennie.

Islington infamously has the second smallest amount of open space of any local authority in the country. No surprise, then, that Jennie’s so keen to get as many people as possible involved in projects that will develop gardens and greenery within its borders.

“If we can encourage people not to concrete over their front gardens and to plant up a few shrubs and pollinating plants that is great,” she said, “and very important in today’s world.”

Not content to rest on its laurels, the Islington Gardeners are launching their first annual photography competition, encouraging people to embrace and celebrate plants and wildlife within the borough.

Jennie said the committee’s motivation behind the competition is to get people to “look carefully at things in the borough and to be aware of the beauty of the things that they’re seeing around them”.

Entries close on October 12. See for more information.

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