Gardens on the London Underground

Transport for London (TfL) staff create pocket gardens in unused parts of London tube stations for their annual In Bloom competition.

Acton tube station garden made by TfL staff for their annual In Bloom gardening competition

The competition, which has run for 100 years recognises green-fingered TfL staff who enter the annual competition to create gardens at stations, depots, and offices. For 2023, the competition was themed ‘Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Earth’.

The gardens, feature everything from ornamental gardens to fruit and vegetable patches, and (for those that are visible to the public) provide a sense of well-being to the millions of tube travellers. As reported by BBC News covering the story, “A total of 57 entries were submitted from urban spaces across the capital, which were judged by more than 40 volunteers, with winners announced during a ceremony at City Hall”.

Throughout its history, TFL station staff have been encouraged to enhance their stations with plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables. The District was the first railway company to formally encourage its staff to take pride in its stations and gardens by providing funds staff could use to buy seeds and plants. The competition was established in 1910 to judge the best displays.

Acton Town station (pictured) was the winning entry in the “cultivated station garden” category.