flowers 20 flowers 21
flowers 16 flowers 3

You may have noticed that we were unusually busy over the dark winter months, preparing and edging the new beds around our four young trees. We have also explored a new technique to deal with beds (mostly at the Essex Road end) where the rising tree roots stopped us from edging with tiles or bricks. Tessa’s wooden panels, with judicially positioned uprights, made it possible to raise the level, and created a box to take sufficient earth for workable planting. The 20 sacks of good topsoil we retrieved from a re-modelled front garden (a big thank you, Jackie & Simon) provided the finishing touch. The other innovation this year is themed planting. One of the new beds (67) is a herb garden; others have specific colours.

We have always aimed at variety in plants and treatment, and this takes the process a little further. Extra shrubs – to provide the perennial underpinning – have already gone in and the summer planting of annuals is underway. All of that is courtesy of a splendid garden centre near Harlow. Last year we were called to account by the ‘colour police’ for improper coordination. A non-gardener might think that everything in nature would be, well, naturally harmonious. However, the sweet-pea, already climbing skywards (28) – as it has done for at least the past seven years – set off visual fireworks when seen with the geraniums alongside last summer. No excuses this time that neither was in flower when we put in the geraniums. This time, we have hired a ‘colour taster’ from Dulux to ensure that whatever is planted next to the sweet-pea promotes inner peace in all who pass by.

The great blocks of jasmine embracing two of the trees are already flowering and will soon spread their smell down half the street. After the lengthy periods of first rain and then sun, everything else is girding itself up for what we are sure is going to be the street’s best display yet. Our application for the Islington in Bloom competition (and hence ‘London in Bloom’ as well) has already gone in. The first judging, by Islington Gardeners, will take place between 7-16 June, with the final look at the shortlisted sites on Tuesday 24 June.

Julie, Tessa, Tony, May 2008

Islington in Bloom Awards 2011

Ockendon Road triumphs again in the Islington in Bloom awards – only even more so
In the ‘Best Tree Pit or Forgotten Corner’ category, Aida (no.2) won the 3rd prize for her always bright and cheerful bed where the road is narrowed.  Her green fingers are largely responsible for the beds at the Southgate Road end in general. In the ‘Street and part of a street’ category our road won First Prize, with a Gold award. Can’t do much better than that.
Following the entry of Islington into the London in Bloom competition – courtesy of the Islington Gardeners, filling the gap left by the Council’s withdrawal – Ockendon Road was one of just four entries from the borough to be awarded a Certificate of Excellence. In presenting the awards, the Mayor said that walking down the road was like being in Kew Gardens and he was amazed we had managed to get things to grow at all.
So we should all pat ourselves on the back:  those who plant, tend and water, and the many of you who offer continuous encouragement as well as money for the plants.  A very big thank you!
on behalf of Julie, Tessa, Tony, Aida and others

Islington in Bloom Awards 2012

Here are the results of this year’s Islington in Bloom awards

– Julie Davies won First Prize across the entire borough for her bed outside No.39. This despite the fact that I have been told the number of planted tree pits in Islington continues to expand.

– Also commended was Tessa’s bed beyond No.1 (i.e. the penultimate bed – before its best grasses were stolen), Aida’s at No.2, the one I manage (No.49) and Verity’s by No.60.

– There was no judging category this time for the best street of tree beds – perhaps because they were tired of giving our road the prize against only slight competition.

‘The London Garden Book A-Z’ by Abigail Willis

This very readable, informative and well-illustrated volume was published in the summer. ‘O’ is for “Ockendon Road Tree Gardens”, an unusually generous four pages with lots of garden photos and one featuring the four stalwart principals. The photo of the Southgate road end tree-bed (south side) is also the subject of the publicity card for the book. I  imagine this might be of general interest to some of you. It is issued by Metro Publications Ltd and can be bought online for a (now reduced) price of £14.99: 

Tony Campbell 

Tree Gardens 2015

flowers 2-4flowers       2-4

The tree garden stalwarts – including Julie, Tess, Tony, Janet and Aida – are always on the look-out for residents who might take on watering of a particular bed, particularly as Summer is now here. If you’d like to help, please do send an email to It’s a great way to get involved in the community and to meet others from the street.The street has entered Islington in Bloom the last 10 years and we have been fortunate to often win something. This prize money and vouchers fund the next year’s planting. Seven beds have been entered this year, including the lovely ones pictured above, entries for the category of “Best Tree Pit” this year. The digitalis and lavender bed is outside number 5-3 Ockendon Road. The other one is outside 2-4 Ockendon Road. The judges were walking our street in June. Good luck to everyone and happy watering!

June 2015

Islington in Bloom 2015

flowers 2-4flowers 2-4

Congratulations to Julie Davis and Aida Trabucco for winning First and Third places in the”Best Tree Pit” category at last night’s Islington in Bloom awards! Julie won for her tree garden outside number 39 (top), and Aida for her tree garden outside number 2/4 (below). The prize money and vouchers will fund the next year’s planting. Ockendon Road has looked particularly beautiful this year, thanks to everyone who worked and helped with the gardens. Here’s a picture of Julie receiving her certificate: 


Islington Borough  also won first prize in the London in Bloom Awards 2015, something it has achieved only once before.  

September 2015

Islington in Bloom 2017

You will be pleased to learn that Ockendon Road won third prize in the
‘Best Street’ category of Islington in Bloom, continuing our run of
success dating back a dozen years or so, from when we first entered.
It seems that the organisers have, quite reasonably, wanted to bring in
those who haven’t won before; the various individual tree-pits we
entered did not win this time.

On behalf of the team of regular gardeners, and the much-appreciated
helpers on our action days and at other times, may I offer a very big
thank you to all who responded most generously to our call for funds.

The gardens are now well past their best of course, but we will soon be
making plans for next year.  The two tree stumps (one either side of the
road) will presumably be ground out during the winter and replacements
put in, giving us two new spaces to fill.

Tony Campbell

Islington in Bloom 2018

And here’s the call for entries to this year’s contest:

Can You Help? A request from some years ago, still very relevant


A renewed plea for help with this. We now have 34  beds to water and dealing with the whole street can take about two hours. In hot weather it needs to be  done at least TWICE A WEEK. It would be a great help   if you would take on the watering of one or more beds near to you, on a regular basis. If you can do this,  please let us know ( is going  to be vital when the regular waterers are away. If the gardens were left for a whole, rainless week, a number of plants will certainly die. Don’t forget: even when it rains, the leaves stop most of the water reaching the bed. And what does get down is taken by the tree.



         New Trees  You will have seen that each young tree has a plastic tube sticking out alongside. This allows water to get to the tree roots, where it is most needed. The council is supposed to come and water those trees. It is not clear whether they will do this regularly or depending on the weather (or, indeed if they forget). Nor do we know if we should add water ourselves. It is possible to over-water a young tree. If you see someone from the Council watering the trees please seek answers to those questions, and let Tony know.


Other Ways of Helping Do you have spare earth, or heavy-duty sacks? Do you know of any other streets that are doing this? Please let us know  at if you see anybody taking or vandalising plants, thoughtless dog owners, or ‘orange-peel Percy’ (or is it Paulette?) who might be politely asked not to throw the bits  into the gardens every day.


How the Tree Gardens started:                   

All about the trees: