The RHS and BBC’s The One Show Reveal Community Garden Award Winner

The UP Garden, in East London, once formerly a derelict and abandoned laundry yard, has won the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and BBC The One Show’s first ever Growing Together Award 2023 for Community Gardening.

The UP Garden, created from an abandoned laundry yard in Forest Gate, an East London housing estate, was reclaimed by local residents to create a free-to-access, upcycled community space. Built in the 1950s the yard originally contained a playground, space for washing lines and was accessible to all, but over the decades, the space became overgrown with brambles, making it inaccessible and unusable.

In the summer of 2021, a local resident had the idea to create a community space to allow outside play and social gardening and in the spring of 2022 work began and the whole community has been involved every step of the way. Residents have given their time and energy planning the layout, upcycling to build furniture and planters and taken part in regular community planting and garden maintenance.

The Growing Together Award for Community Gardens celebrates Britain in Bloom with a new community garden award inviting groups from across the country to share their efforts to transform green spaces into beautiful havens, care for their environment and improve social well-being by introducing new people to the joys of gardening.

Tayshan Hayden-Smith, community activist, garden designer and competition judge, said: “The story and the quick evolution of The Up Garden was so impressive that it just had to be recognised as the winner. A garden truly by the people, for the people. It goes to show what happens when the garden is seen as the fertile ground for change, beauty and local activism.”

Local resident Suzanne Hu, said: “This award is a huge honour and recognises the success of our approach to creating a community garden, which is that it is less about knowing about gardening, and more about knowing your community. We hope that The UP Garden inspires other communities to come together to reclaim unused land to fulfil their specific needs.”

The UP Garden opened to visitors in October 2022 as a place for people of all ages to learn about gardening, biodiversity and eco-sustainability in a social environment. This colourful, welcoming space now hosts seasonal events and nature-based workshops and is a hub for the community.

The competition encourages groups from all walks of life to showcase their transformed plots and community spirit. A panel from both partners carefully assessed the entries, selecting the most outstanding community garden group as winners. 

Joining this year’s winner, The UP Garden, were two runners up, Alive Wellspring Settlement and Grow Well Riverside, who will also share their stories and experiences on the BBC’s One Show, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps and make a positive impact on their own communities. 

Alive Wellspring Settlement, a community project in Bristol, supports families, many who are new to growing and for whom English is a second language. They have converted two courtyards into gardens for growing fruit and vegetables to share between the community gardeners, local residents and food club and community café.

Grow Well Riverside, a social prescribing project in Cardiff, through perseverance and determination, have transformed a bare space. It is now a vibrant, green area with ten new beds, seating, herb hedges, wildflower meadow strips, fruit trees and pollinator-friendly flowers.  

Kay Clark, Community Development Manager, commented: “All of our winners are bringing people together, helping reduce isolation and having a positive impact on both physical and mental health. We’re delighted to celebrate the positive impact of community gardening with this special award and we would love for more communities to become involved in the competition next spring.”

To find out more about the RHS and BBC’s The One Show Community Garden Competition, please visit


For further information please get in touch via [email protected] or 0207 8213080.

Notes to editors

About the RHS 

Since our formation in 1804, the RHS has grown into the UK’s leading gardening charity, touching the lives of millions of people. Perhaps the secret to our longevity is that we’ve never stood still. In the last decade alone we’ve taken on the largest hands-on project the RHS has ever tackled by opening the new RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, Greater Manchester, and invested in the science that underpins all our work by building RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science. 

We have committed to being net positive for nature and people by 2030. We are also committed to being truly inclusive and to reflect all the communities of the UK.  

Across our five RHS gardens we welcome more than three million visitors each year to enjoy over 34,000 different cultivated plants. Events such as the world famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show, other national shows, our schools and community work, and partnerships such as Britain in Bloom, all spread the shared joy of gardening to wide-reaching audiences. 

Throughout it all we’ve held true to our charitable core – to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of horticulture – to share the love of gardening and the positive benefits it brings.  

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.