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London’s blooming: gardens flourish on the tube – photo essay

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The first official garden popped up at a London Underground station more than a century ago. Now, there is an annual Underground In Bloom competition, run by Transport for London (TfL), for the many stations going green.With plants grown in everything from used mayonnaise pots to old food delivery crates, makeshift station gardens are sprouting up around the capital, all managed by volunteer staff.

Competition categories include the best indoor garden, best fruit and vegetables, best hanging baskets and best window baskets.

South Tottenham station, with Sasha Diamond, whose garden backs on to the station’s green plot, tending to the flowers. A pelargonium and petunia peep through the fenceThe District Railway company started the competition back in 1910.

Staff were given money to buy seeds and encouraged to grow plants. The planting was more formal (early winners included St James’s Park, Ealing Common and Ealing Broadway), but by 1925, there were 30 small gardens scattered along the railway, according to Train Omnibus Tram magazine.South Tottenham station won the best seasoned entry winner, helped by the dahlia ‘Moonfire’The article reads: “Railway stations, with their hustle and bustle, are not ideal spots in which to cultivate flowers.

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