Mrs Finch and her husband voluntarily tended to the garden since 1953
An elderly woman's prize-winning garden has been uprooted by an east London housing association which said it had "safety concerns".
Matilda Finch, 89, tended the large patch of ground in front of her Hebden Court flat in Haggerston for 55 years.
She was "heartbroken" when her plants were uprooted and trees cut down, and has demanded they be replaced.
London and Quadrant housing association said it carried out the "necessary" work while regenerating the estate.
Mrs Finch and her late husband Henry began planting flowers and tending to the communal garden when they moved into the area in 1953.
"We never asked anybody to give us any money for doing it, we just enjoyed making it look nice," she said.
The garden won numerous awards from Hackney Council throughout the 1970s to 1990s, including the London in Bloom competition.
But last November nearly everything was cut down or uprooted by London and Quadrant maintenance workers.
"I went out to see friends for the day, and when I came back all that was left was a mound of earth and a few sticks," she said.
"I couldn't believe what had happened. I was totally speechless."
The housing association said the move was part of a series of ongoing improvements.
A spokesman said: "Last September we took over management of 480 run-down flats on the Kingsland estate.
"We agreed that within 100 days of the transfer we would undertake works to reduce overgrown communal areas that were a health and safety concern and had been contributing to infestation problems."
He added: "We have done what is necessary - the whole area was a bit of a jungle to be honest, it was overgrown and there was a danger of rats breeding in there."
The spokesman said new green areas will be created as part of the renovation, and that numerous flats will be demolished and replaced.
Mrs Finch, who denied that the garden was overgrown, was given £50 by the housing association to buy new plants.
But she said: "Money doesn't come into it - I want a professional gardener to come and repair the damage."
She has won the support of Hackney councillor Jonathan McShane, who said he would enlist council colleagues to help restore the garden if necessary.