London’s disused Tube platforms are being transformed into gardens

A number of Tube stations are getting a new lease of life as green-fingered staff are given the freedom to “transform” quiet and disused areas of platforms into gardens.

Transport for London (TfL) is encouraging station staff to cheer up their drab surroundings for them, their colleagues, and passengers to enjoy – with flower displays, greenery, and even fruit and vegetables.

At Morden tube station in south London, customer services manager Tony – with the help of other staff – turned a disused platform into an allotment-style garden growing food such as cherries, potatoes, hot peppers, and plums.

There’s also a dedicated “wellbeing area” with a seating area where staff can relax.

Daniel Holah, the station’s customer service manager, said Tony “transformed” the area “with his amazing gardening skills – bringing colour and life”.

<p>Tony in the thick of the garden where fruits such as plums have been growing </p>
Tony in the thick of the garden where fruits such as plums have been growing (TfL/Eleanor Bentall)

Mr Holah added: “Tony has put a lot of time and effort into this project and it has been much appreciated by colleagues and the many customers who have made positive comments about his work.”

At the busy Tube and Overground hub of Highbury & Islington station in north London, staff have a plant corner to brighten up the entrance on the bustling Upper Street.

The station’s Overground platform also has a Bee Friendly Trust planter honouring flower seller Bill Little, who had been trading outside the station for 30 years until his death in 2002.

<p>Staff brightened up the ticket barrier area with colourful pots of plants  </p>
Staff brightened up the ticket barrier area with colourful pots of plants (TfL/Eleanor Bentall)

TfL has also established community gardens with the Bee Friendly Trust this year at Northfields, Wimbledon Park, High Barnet and Upton Park Tube station.

Customer service assistant Julia Nelson said: “It has been such a pleasure creating the flower garden for Highbury & Islington station.

“The joy it brings to our customers and staff is so uplifting and it adds warmth and calmness to a very busy station.”

Staff have brightened up the Seven Kings station on the recently-opened Elizabeth line by adding colourful planters to the station entrance, corridors, and large sections of the platform with the help of young people in the area.

<p>The new Seven Kings platform has been brightened up with some greenery</p>
The new Seven Kings platform has been brightened up with some greenery (TfL/Eleanor Bentall)

TfL runs the annual ‘In Bloom’ gardening competition in which the staff’s efforts are judged on categories such as indoor garden, fruit and vegetables, and hanging baskets, tubs, and window baskets.

Mark Evers, TfL’s Chief Customer Officer, said: “We’re really proud of our station staff who have gone above and beyond to brighten up their stations and transform parts of their stations into gems, promoting a greener environment, encouraging flora and fauna in their local community and making stations a more pleasant and welcoming space for customers.”

He said TfL is encouraging commuters to visit the station gardens during Love Parks Week this week.

The full list of entrants to the ‘In Bloom’ competition has not closed yet, but these stations have entered so far:

  • Abbey Wood Elizabeth line station
  • Arnos Grove tube station
  • Arsenal tube station
  • Blackhorse Road tube station
  • Boston Manor tube station
  • Cannon Street tube station
  • Fairlop tube station
  • Highbury & Islington tube station
  • Norwood Junction London Overground station
  • Rectory Road London Overground station
  • Tufnell Park tube station
  • Vauxhall tube station
  • Warwick Avenue tube station
  • West Kensington tube station

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