Ambler Road

Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park

If I could live anywhere in London, it would be Ambler Road. Who wouldn’t want to live on a street that is home to its very own topiary elephants (and a baby owl)? There’s also a shop around the corner that only sells naan breads. I just love that idea.

The street also has the perfect mix of ages and socio-ethnic groups, and thanks to Naomi Schillinger and her band of Blackstock Triangle Gardeners, some great front gardens and tree pits. The sense of community as a result of all this greenfingered activity is astounding and if I hadn’t witnessed it for myself many times, I don’t think I’d really believe it.

Ambler Road isn’t manicured in a Britain in Bloom way – you won’t find neat bedding displays or immaculate lawns. What you will find is a community veg patch, crops in dumpster bags and some small front gardens that are cleverly planted.

Robert’s garden (below) was tarted up thanks to an Islington Council grant – a few years back they were trying to encourage people to plant up, not pave over, their front gardens. Needless to say there’s no funding available nowadays, but quite a few gardens were tarted up as a result.


Robert’s neighbours’ garden (below) is filled almost exclusively with veg in dumpster bags. I’ve always thought dumpster bags were a bit unsightly, but these are packed closely together. The rhubarb makes a great centrepiece.


But back to the topiary. The elephants came about because the formerly overgrown hedge was a magnet for antisocial behaviour – you can read the full story at Out of My Shed. The aptly named Tim Bushe created them – here’s more of his handiwork.


5 thoughts on “Ambler Road”

  1. I remember seeing the elephants over the shoulder of wellywoman’s reader last year from Naomi’s post, and loved them. Not so long back we went to a garden outside Brecon and saw some very similar ones. I guess from the same artist.

  2. These are so brilliant and wonderfully silly! I used to have a friend who lived in Ambler Road several decades ago and there was nothing like that there then. They would make me smile every time I passed them.

  3. Hello, belatedly, Veronica, and thank you for spreading the word about the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners and Bushe’s Bushes. We do love our neighbourhood, and we would be delighted if you moved here!


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