Islington’s best blooms recognised in annual gardening competition

Gary McQuinn took home the prize for best front garden. Photograph: Islington Council

Gardening competition Islington in Bloom came to an end last week, with the borough’s most glorious gardens recognised in 10 categories.

The annual contest celebrates the physical and mental health benefits of gardening and brings the community together over a shared love of the great outdoors, as well as promoting biodiversity.

All residents are encouraged to enter, whether they are long-time gardeners or only just discovering their green thumb.

Town Hall environment chief Cllr Rowena Champion said: “Islington in Bloom is always one of the highlights of the year, helping to bring people from across our borough together as a community to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of gardening.

“As we face an ongoing climate and ecological emergency, the council is working hard to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough for all by improving green spaces and encouraging biodiversity.

“The Islington in Bloom awards highlight the vital role that local people can play in achieving this, and emphasise again the importance of Islington’s green spaces.”

McQuinn’s winning front garden. Photograph: Islington Council

Of the 177 entries, winners included Garry McQuinn for best front garden, Gardeners of Wedmore for best community garden, and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School for best children’s planting.

For the first time the competition also included a best edible garden category, which was won by the Octopus Community Plant Nursery.

Winners, runners-up and third-placed entries in each category received a National Garden gift voucher, and all participants were given a compost voucher to use at a local garden centre.

McQuinn said: “It’s fantastic how gardening has improved and enhanced our community relationships. I see people walking past and they stop for a chat.

“Our circle of acquaintances and friends has grown significantly, just through being in the front garden.”

In a testament to the borough’s passion for horticulture, a number of Islington green spaces were recognised in the London in Bloom awards.

Gold and category winners included Gillespie Park, Duncan Terrace, and Islington Gardeners in the Conservation Area of the Year, Small Park Group A, and City of the Year categories respectively; Rosemary Gardens won a gold award in the Park of the Year category; and Myddelton Square and Caledonian Park earned silver gilts in the Small Conservation Area and Park of the Year categories.