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Our History: Willesden Green Gardens

History of Willesden Green garden goes back to the 1930's. At the time station gardens were really popular and TFL personal was creating many gardens acoss the network.

Anna Zverkova
Anna Zverkova

Not so underground! Despite its name, only 45% of the "Underground" is below ground. This means lots of stations are out in the open, with plenty of air and sunshine for plants to flourish. From flower beds, vegetable patches, hanging baskets and even ‘tiny parks’ in disused ticket offices, there are gardens across the whole Underground network. Willesden Green garden is one of the TFL tube gardens and here is its story.

History of Willesden Green garden goes back to the 1930's. At the time station gardens were really popular and TFL personal was creating many gardens acoss the network. Here is a photo from London Transport museum of the station gardens competition 1934.

On the photo we can see the judges viewing platform flower beds at Willesden Green Underground station, which were awarded a third prize in the Metropolitan line section (Platform 4).

One more photo of the garden. This one is from the station gardens competition in 1941.

However in 2014 planters at the station no longer had a gardener and were not in the best shape, so Willesden Green Team reached out to the TFL and asked if it would be possible to help out greening Willesden Green station. Luckily TFL agreed. 😀

Willesden Green tube station garden project officially started in 2014 when Anahita adopted a planter 1 on platform 1. Pat, Ursula and the Team helped Anahita transform the rest of abandoned flowerbeds to the lush grean islands of calm on the busy TFL network.

Anahita working on planter 1 on Platform 1 at the Willesden Green tube station. 
Volunteers transforming Platform 1 - birth of tube garden in 2014.

This is how the flowersbeds looked like before the team of keen gardeners started working on them back in 2014... TFL staff had cut down the ivy on the wall and the leaves had scattered far and wide, they had also trod all over it, and lots of small branches had fallen down and needed clearing. Plus there were quite a few overgrown plants inside the beds. The team had lots to clean up and plant.

Very large bush on platform 1 inside plante 3 that got out of control. 
Clean up of overgrown planters on platform 1

After a lot of hard work the station was transformed.

Planter 1 on Platform 1 transforms

Hard work and continuous improvments followed. As a result the volunteering community in charge of the station garden was able to win the London Underground in Bloom competion in 2016!!! The garden got 2  awards for the Station Gardening. 1st Prize for Best Cultivated Garden and 3rd prize for the Chief Operating Officer's Pick.

Fingers crossed that many more awards will follow. If you are interested in gardening and leave near Willesden Green you way even become part of the team and shape the future of the garden. 😃