Tower Hamlets in Bloom 2023


Council leaders presented prizes and certificates at the Tower Hamlets in Bloom Awards 2023, which took place on Wednesday 13 December 2023 at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park. The annual competition, which is part of the national In Bloom scheme, encourages people to become more interested in horticulture and to develop a greater appreciation and respect for the natural environment.

Stepney City Farm, Canary Wharf and Michael Howard received special recognition awards. Judges described Stepney City Farm as a shining example of what can be achieved when visitors are encouraged to appreciate nature, animals, and the environment that they live in. Gardening staff at Canary Wharf were praised for cultivating landscapes ranging from roof gardens and living walls to water features and tropical gardens within a densely populated and busy commercial area. Michael Howard, who along with his partner Margaret Cox assists with corporate volunteer activities in and around Bethnal Green including Rocky Park and Teesdale Community Centre, was described as a local hero.

Two of the awards are specifically for the best wildlife gardens, one for individual gardens and one for group/community gardens. The individual award was won by Susan Caldwell, for her allotment at Cable Street Community Garden. Susan’s allotment features bird feeders (see header photo), lots of nectar-rich flowers and a hidden pond (see photo below), as well as more usual fruit and vegetables. Pat Rowe won second prize, with Gail Stevens and Peter Mengerink sharing third.

The best group wildlife garden was won for the second year running by Cranbrook Community Food Garden, which has lots of innovative features for wildlife, including “Beetopia”, a sandy bank surrounded by nectar-rich flowers and dead wood (see photo below). Cable Street Community Garden and Wapping Wildlife Garden took joint second place and Approach Gardens and St Leonard’s Priory sharing third.

Lizzy Mace was named Gardener of the Year in recognition of her hard work with Cranbrook Community Garden, working behind the scenes to submit grant applications, organise community events, arrange the ever-popular craft club, whilst never taking her eye off the need to promote biodiversity within the community garden.

John Keith collected the lifetime achievement award. He worked at Phoenix School for many years assisting children with special educational needs and educating them in the appreciation of biodiversity and the environment.

All photos by John Archer, click to enlarge

Photo of colourful flowers and a pond

Susan Caldwell’s allotment (John Archer)

Photo of a sand bank, other features for bees, and signage

“Beetopia” at Cranbrook Garden (John Archer)


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