Horsenden’s a winner in London in Bloom awards

2021 was another successful year for Horsenden in the annual London in Bloom awards. And this year the Friends surpassed all previous success winning a prestigious RHS National Certificate of Distinction.

The Friends of Horsenden Hill achieved 93 points, the maximum being 100. We have consistently achieved the top-ranking award of ‘Outstanding’ since first entering as the Friends in 2018.

Both Ealing Council and the Friends of Horsenden Hill submit entries representing Horsenden to London in Bloom and we consistently score highly. The council’s entries for Horsenden East and Horsenden West both achieved Gold in the Large Conservation category – great recognition for our hardworking colleagues at Ealing Council and their careful and sympathetic management of the land.  Add to the mix the massive efforts made by volunteers such as our LAGER Can pickers and the growing number of volunteers who dedicate their time so willingly and cheerfully to Horsenden and we really do have a winning team.

Points are awarded in three categories. These are:

Community Participation – we scored 37 (maximum 40)

Environmental Responsibility – we scored 29 (maximum 30)

Gardening Achievement – we scored 27 (maximum 30)

Here’s the judge’s report:

Horsenden Hill Farm was an impressive and diverse site. It has a countryside village community feel where everyone works together for a common goal. There is a bakery, brewery, upholstery studio, reflexology and massage centre as well as the farm shop which sells its own fresh produce and products from their talented artists and crafters.

During my visit, the site was buzzing with activity including: volunteers working on the sensory garden, a corporate group assisting with projects across the site and the forest school where children were undertaking a range of activities and crafts included knife carving skills. Bead Sew Crafty is also based onsite, running workshops for those with learning disabilities and additional needs. It seems to be very important to make this environment accessible to everyone and they achieve this very well. They also run foraging courses, guided nature walks and host community volunteering days. The new cow shed must have been a mammoth task but has resulted in a great achievement – a credit to the team involved.

There has been an active effort to archive the historical finds found during work on the pond, and there appears to be a constant drive to improve the space for the community, whether that is creating new pizza and bread ovens or adding additional wildflower areas and fruit trees. On-site, there is a tree nursery with trees sourced from ‘Trees for Cities’. On my walk, I saw no evidence of dog fouling, graffiti, litter, fly posting or fly tipping. I also had the honour of meeting the LAGER volunteer group who do an amazing job at keeping the borough clean.

There is good level of horticulture on site and plant selection is clearly thought-out. The plans and ideas of the team alongside the creative arts and crafts produced demonstrate that they will continue to evolve and innovate, with the hope to eventually bring the main farmhouse back into use. Once the sensory garden is completed, it will be a great addition to the site which is well- deserved to stand in the outstanding category.”

This year, our strong record of success was recognised with the RHS National Certificate of achievement. Groups who have done consistently well over time may be nominated to receive this award and we are one of five recipients this year.

The judge’s summary acknowledges the commitment of the various groups, individuals and organisations that make Horsenden such a wonderful destination. Collaboration between us all and the dedication we share is something we are all proud of. Just setting up the day for the judges’ visit took time, planning and a lot of hard work.

This hard work and dedication is happening every day around Horsenden for the benefit of nature, wildlife, biodiversity and above all for our community to enjoy this special space.  To have it acknowledged and celebrated by the London in Bloom experts is a tremendous achievement for everyone who loves Horsenden. Well done team Horsenden!