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There's strawberry fields forever down at Hampstead tube station

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 August 2011 | UPDATED: 12:25 14 August 2011

Station worker Jenny Barnett in her favourite spot in the garden behind Hampstead Underground Station, the rows of baskets baskets next to the strawberries.

Station worker Jenny Barnett in her favourite spot in the garden behind Hampstead Underground Station, the rows of baskets baskets next to the strawberries.

Richard Twilton

»Staff at Hampstead tube station are beginning to see the fruits of their labours in this year's London Underground gardening competition.

Tube stations across the capital are in bloom as employees battle it out to grow the best and most succulent fruit and vegetables.

At Hampstead, strawberries, cherries, blueberries and courgettes among other fruits and vegetables are beginning to appear.

The station’s customer service assistant Jenny Barnett, 56, is heavily involved in the competition and takes care of the plants in her own time.

She said: “The competition is great because it improves the ambiance for the station employees, adding colour and creating an oasis of calm. It gives us something different and fun to focus on.

“We have won before and hope to win again.”

The awards evening is on September 7 at City Hall. The winning station will have a party thrown so that the staff can celebrate together.

Judges will give extra points to “greener” gardens which use water wisely or recycle. Hampstead has a wormery bin, providing rich environmentally-friendly liquid fertilizer to help plants grow.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “I want to bring the best of the village into the city and a well-tended local station is a quintessential feature of this vision.

“It is fantastic that these talented London Underground staff have created horticultural delights bursting with flowers, fruit and veg and all done by volunteering in their spare time.

“I’d like to congratulate everybody who has worked hard to transform these stations, adding a splash of colour to the daily commute of passengers. They are a credit to this city and their efforts will help ensure London is looking amazing when we welcome the world in 2012.”

London Underground’s chief operating officer Howard Collins added: “I’m really proud that our staff have spent so much of their own time making our tube stations brighter places for our customers. The effort that has gone into creating these beautiful oases proves just how much London Underground staff care about their customers and colleagues.

“With so many impressive entries, I think it’s going to be a difficult decision for the judges to choose the winners this year.”

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