Islington in Bloom 2024
Islington in Bloom 2024 will be launching in the spring. This will be the 21st year of the annual gardening competition, and we want it to be bigger and better than ever!
We are keen to hear from all of Islington's diverse communities. There are plenty of categories to choose from, you don't need to have any gardening experience - or even a garden - to take part.
You can enter via a simple online form, with photographs of your gardening project. All entrants will receive a voucher for a bag of compost to encourage you to keep gardening! More information on how to enter, and the dates of the 2024 competition, will be available on this page in the new year.
Islington is one of London’s most densely populated boroughs with the least amount of green space – so we need to make the most of every centimetre of growing space. We want Islington to be greener and healthier, and our gardening competition is a great way for us to reimagine our shared spaces together and make this happen.
Gardening has many benefits for people and the environment:
• it raises our spirits by making our surroundings more beautiful
• it supports biodiversity and helps protect our environment by making Islington more attractive to pollinators and other wildlife
• it brings people and communities together
• it is great for health and wellbeing, and it's fun!
Islington In Bloom 2023 winners and runners-up
- Angel Central
- Islington Fire Station
- Arsenal Tube Station
- Pooles Park Primary School
- Archway Children's Centre
- Willow Children's Centre
Best Community Garden
- Lever Street Community Garden
- Whittington Park Community Association
- Jean Stokes Community Centre
Best Container Garden
- Louise Souter
- Jasmine Maylanchi
- John Sloboda & Rafael Montero
Best Edible Garden
- Lumpy Hill Adventure Playground
- Octopus Urban Growing Volunteers
- Sandy Marks & Frances Whitehouse
Best Front Garden
- Simon Ricketts
- Kevan Tomlin
- Anita Gracie
Best Housing Community Garden
- Residents of Montague Court
- Brunswick Close Estate
- Clyro Court
Best Parks Community Garden
- Arlington Square Gardens
- Compton Terrace Gardens
- Penn Road Residents Association
Killick Street Community Planters
Best Tree Pit
- Annita Clinton
- Janice Walsh
- Gordon McArthur
- Patricia Jordan
- David Heath
- Natasha Grima-Walcott
Best Blooming Staff
- Martin Kalaher
- Alison Cunningham
Pattenden Award for most wildlife friendly entry
Lumpy Hill Adventure Playground
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for their generosity - Camden Garden Centre, Angel Central, The Islington Society, NSL, Housing, Islington Gardeners, N1 Garden Centre, Partners for Islington.
If you feel inspired after entering Islington in Bloom, you could apply for funding to create or improve a green space in your local area as part of our Islington Greener Together programme, and become an Islington Greener Together Champion to receive support and training.
What are the categories?
There are lots of categories to enter – whether you’re keen to transform your front garden, your window sill, or a community garden in your local park. You can enter as an individual, a community group, or – in the Best Blooming Business category – even as a business.
The categories for 2023 are:
- Best Front Garden (with the majority of plants grown in the ground)
- Best Container Garden (with the majority of plants grown in containers)
- Best Children's Planting (category for schools, children's centres, and projects led by children)
- Best Community Garden
- Best Street
- Best Housing Community Gardening (category for estate gardening groups, community centres, and residential care homes)
- Best Park Community Garden
- Best Blooming Business
- Best Window Box
- Best Tree Pit
- Best Edible Garden (food growing)
- Children’s Poster Competition (this is only open to schools in Islington - contact us for more information)
How can I enter?
The competition will open on Tuesday 4 April, check back here from that date for details on how to enter.
The deadline for entries is 11.59pm Friday 19 May.
You will need:
• Two photos of your entry
• Your name
• Your address
• Your email address
• Your phone number
• Are you nominating yourself or another project?
• Details of your nomination – or the project you are nominating
Details of the Schools children's poster competition will be announced – along with some exciting news – after the Easter holidays.
What are your tips for taking great photos of my entry?
Photographs are important to help with judging. Please photograph as much of your planting as you can.
Before you start, wipe your camera lens with a lint-free cloth such as a glasses cloth. Activate HDR or high-resolution mode on your camera app (if applicable).
If possible take your photos from two different angles.
Do not submit photos of individual plants or people.
Often landscape format will help you capture more of your garden than portrait.
Avoid facing directly into the sun when taking photos – often cloudy days can help prevent awkward shadows.
For window boxes and balconies please include a view from the street.
How does the judging process work?
When the competition closes, our judges (who are all volunteers from Islington Gardeners, the local community and council staff) will review all entries.
We are always looking for more judges so if you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Traditionally, gardening competitions were all about colourful hanging baskets and neatly trimmed lawns, but here in Islington, a densely urban setting, we want to recognise all sorts of gardening and gardeners, and to encourage a positive impact on biodiversity in our borough.
Here are some of the things that judges are looking for:
• Sustainable plants that can tolerate drier conditions.
• Perennial plants instead of annual bedding plants
• Collecting rain water and using mulch to suppress weeds and retain water.
• Use of recycled or upcycled materials.
• Is it a good place for wildlife? Are there plants that provide food sources for birds, bees and other pollinators?
• Wild life habitats such as a bird box or feeder, bug hotel, log pile, or small pond or water feature.
• Is it attractive? Is there a good mixture of plants? Are there different textures, colours and shapes of leaves? Do you have plants that will provide interest all year round – evergreen shrubs, climbers or trees?
• Is it well-tended, pruned, watered, and looking healthy? Is the planting suitable for the space and does it work well in its location?
• Does it include edibles such as herbs, fruit, or vegetables?
The judges will then give you a score, based on which you will receive one of the following awards:
Gold (85% and over)
Silver Gilt (75-84%)
Certificate of Merit (0-49%)
There are also first, second, and third places for each category.
What will the judges be looking for?
In the past, gardening competitions were all about colourful hanging baskets and neatly trimmed lawns. This year we want to go further, so we have made some changes to the guidelines that will help you make a positive impact on biodiversity in our borough.
Here are a few things to think about when planning your entry for Islington in Bloom:
- Is your planting sustainable, with plants that can tolerate drier conditions and perennial plants instead of annual bedding plants? Are you collecting rain water and using mulch to suppress weeds and retain water? Have you used any recycled or upcycled materials?
- Is it a good place for wildlife? Are there plants that provide food sources for birds, bees and other pollinators? Is there a small wild area for habitat? Is there a bird box or feeder, bug hotel, log pile, or small pond or water feature?
- Is it attractive? Is there a good mixture of plants? Are there different textures, colours and shapes of leaves? Do you have plants that will provide interest all year round – evergreen shrubs, climbers or trees?
- Is it well-tended, pruned, watered, and looking healthy? Is the planting suitable and does it work well in its location?
- Does it include herbs, fruit, or vegetables?
When will I find out the results?
There will also be a celebratory event, details of this will follow.
What is the Islington in Bloom children’s poster competition? (only open to schools)
We are inviting children to create a poster for the 2024 edition of the Islington in Bloom gardening competition. Entries should be submitted by Friday 7 July 2023. Please note that this competition is only open to schools.
The winning design will be used to help promote next years competition. We are looking for a design which will encourage Islington’s diverse communities, including residents, schools, young people’s centres, community groups and businesses to get involved and make their borough greener, brighter and more wildlife-friendly!
The competition is open to children of all ages and will be judged in the following age categories:
- Infants (5 years and under)
- Primary (6 – 10 years)
- Secondary (11 – 15 years)
The winners of each category will receive prizes sponsored by Cass Art Islington and a personalised certificate. The overall winner will receive a £50 Cass Art voucher.
To enter, email the following to email@example.com:
- The name of your school or young people's centre, its address and postcode; your name, position, phone number and email address; and an alternative contact name.
- The poster design(s). All documents should be in JPEG or PDF format, and each poster file should be named with the participant’s name, age and school (for example, ‘John Doe, 7 years, sample school’).
For further information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
A great poster will:
- include the words ‘Islington in Bloom 2024’ (tip: keep the text in the centre of the design)
- be in a portrait format and feature content which fits the In Bloom theme, such as flowers, trees, fruit and vegetables, gardening, pots, tools, homes, people, birds, insects and other wildlife
- be bright, bold and colourful
- include the child’s name, age and school or young people’s centre in the file name.
How can I stay up to date?
Check the website to stay up to date with the competition.
For gardening tips and fun facts, follow our Instagram account @islingtoninbloom. Here you can also be inspired by the creations of some of last year’s winners. You can also share your work and help us promote the competition by using the hashtags #IslingtonBlooms and #IslingtonInBloom on Twitter and Instagram.
We will inform entrants of the results by email.
Thank you to our generous sponsors
Islington in Bloom would not be possible without the competition’s sponsors, so we would like to extend a warm thank you to:
- Angel Central (sponsoring Best Children’s Planting)
- Camden Garden Centre (sponsoring Best Front Garden and Best Container Garden)
- Cass Art Islington (sponsoring the Children’s Poster Competition)
- N1 Garden Centre (sponsoring Best Blooming Business)
- Islington Council’s Housing Department (sponsoring Best Housing Community Gardening)
- Islington Gardeners (sponsoring Best Parks Community Gardening)
- The Islington Society (sponsoring Best Community Garden)
- NSL (sponsoring Best Street)
- Partners for Improvement in Islington (sponsoring Best Window Box)