London Underground: TfL staff transform disused Tube platforms into ‘calming’ gardens

“Calming” and “cheerful” station gardens are springing up across the Tube network, bringing a taste of wild greenery to rush-hour weary commuters.

Forget the London Overground - staff across the capital’s transport network are focused on what’s happening beneath the surface. Soil, that is.

Tube stations are bursting into full bloom this summer, thanks to green-fingered staff.

TfL customer service manager Tony Samuel has transformed Morden station into a thriving garden. Photo: TfL/Eleanor Bentall

“Calming” and “cheerful” station gardens are springing up across the Tube network, bringing a taste of wild greenery to rush-hour weary commuters.

It comes as the operator marks Love Parks Week, while Transport for London (TfL) staff are entering their efforts into In Bloom, the network’s annual staff gardening prize competition.

Morden station worker Tony Samuel, has transformed a disused area into a platform garden, which bears fruits and vegetables – from cherries and potatoes to hot peppers and plums.

Staff in the wellbeing area at Morden station. Photo: TfL

Daniel Holah, Morden’s customer service manager, said: “Tony has transformed a disused part of the station that needed some brightening up.

“He has managed to do this both with his amazing gardening skills bringing colour and life with his plants and flowers and also by creating Morden’s very own wellbeing area where staff can go to relax and have some down time whilst on duty.”

He added: “Tony has put a lot of time and effort into this project.

A colourful floral display at Highbury & Islington station. Photo: TfL

“It has been much appreciated by colleagues and the many customers who have made positive comments about his work.”

While station staff at other stops have also repurposed quiet corners and disused platforms into creative green spaces with various flowers and vegetables brightening up the network.

Staff at Highbury & Islington Tube station have created a corner using colourful plants and flowers to brighten up the station entrance.

The Morden station platform garden. Photo: TfL

The London Overground platform also has a Bee Friendly Trust planter honouring a local flower seller who had been outside the station for many years.

And staff at Seven Kings Elizabeth line station have made their station greener by adding colourful planters to the station entrance, corridors and large plots on the platform.

Young people in the community have also stepped up to be involved in caring for the plants.

Tony gardening on the Morden station platform. Photo: TfL

TfL welcomed the initiatives, saying the flourishing gardens in “unusual places in stations help to improve the local environment, encourage flora and fauna and make travelling more welcoming and pleasant for customers and their colleagues”.

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 and transform parts of their stations into gems.

“They are promoting a greener environment, encouraging flora and fauna in their local community and making stations a more pleasant and welcoming space for customers.

Fruit growing in the Morden station platform garden. Photo: TfL

“We encourage all customers to look out for these cheerful and colourful additions to the stations the next time you’re using the public transport network.”

While Julia Nelson, customer service assistant, who created the flower garden at Highbury & Islington station, said the project had been “such a pleasure”.

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

A carriage themed display in the Seven Kings station platform garden. Photo: TfL

And Richard Baker, community ambassador for the Elizabeth line said garden projects were a “great way to engage with customers”.

He said: “I love working with schools and local residents, and with my railway family, to help ensure our green space has a sensory feel to it by touch or smell for those losing their sight.

“Getting them involved in creating and caring for these gardens is wonderful for everyone’s mental wellbeing, and when I’m out in stations, customers tell me these brighten their day.

Customers and staff have praised Tony’s efforts. Photo: TfL

“On occasions they’ve even volunteered to help whilst waiting for their train.”

He added: ““I love having these green spaces in our station as plants can add a calming atmosphere for those passengers who are in the darkest of places to find a bit of happiness.”

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

Entrants to In Bloom are judged on categories such as indoor garden, fruit and vegetables, and hanging baskets, tubs, and window baskets.

With the competition still ongoing, customers can expect an array of stations across the capital to get involved.

Have you spotted the elaborate platform planters at stations like Acton Town or West Kensington Tube station or spied the innovative use of indoor spaces like Arnos Grove, Vauxhall and Cannon Street Tube stations?

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