Blooming brilliant competition returns online

Woman pruning a tree

Rose Heatley has entered Islington in Bloom as part of Lever Street Community Garden for two years. We spoke to her to find out what she enjoys about the competition.

Rose said: “Lever Street Community Garden has been going since 2013. We’ve eighteen households that work on the garden and most tend to a one metre square raised bed each. We mostly grow vegetables like potatoes, peas, tomatoes and artichokes, and fruits including rhubarb, raspberries and strawberries. The whole garden is surrounded by fruit trees, currant bushes, flowers and shrubs. We’ve won Green Flag awards before and the council’s Lisa Pontecorvo award in part due to the way that we recycle our own green waste.

“Islington in Bloom brings all kinds of local people together, from a family with toddlers to people in their 80s; we come from a range of cultures and backgrounds. Once a month we get together to share communal tasks, exchange advice and enjoy refreshments, comment on visits by the local cat, and birds. We all live in flats so we appreciate the fresh air, beauty and the constantly evolving plant life.

“It’s actually kind of a showcase for our efforts. It’s useful to have a deadline to work towards, and the award ceremony is always an enjoyable occasion. I also like to see what other Islington gardeners are up to.

“This year, we’ve spent so long in isolation, that it’s great to have an occasion which reminds us that we gardeners are a community with common interests and passions. With threats like climate change and Covid 19, reflection on our role in the ecosystem and the ability to observe it close up and make a positive contribution can bring some sense of peace and joy.

“If you’re thinking about taking part for the first time then don’t hesitate. It gives you something to work towards and could lead to a pleasant surprise if you win!”

Islington in Bloom has moved online this year due to the current public health situation. The competition is open to all residents and categories have been expanded to allow more people to take part from the comfort of their own homes.

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