Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Chelsea Fringe

The grande dame of the gardening world, the Chelsea Flower Show returns this week for her annual celebration of horticultural design and innovation. Indeed, the designs on show tend to determine the gardening trends of the next year. And running along beside her, is new (ish) kid on the block, the Chelsea Fringe.



Having started on Saturday, the Fringe runs until 8 June and this year is taking place in and around London, as well as Brighton, Bristol, and has even spread as far afield as Vienna and Ljubjlana. 

Although only in its third year, 2014’s Fringe is playing host to a heady mix of over 200 public spectacles, horticultural happenings and community celebrations. With so many exciting events going on, we thought we’d lend a helping hand and have picked a few we like the sound of most. 

London 

Discover London in a new light with Where the Wild Things Grow, a project which aims to make us take notice of the small and often overlooked wildernesses within the city. Where the Wild Things Grow documents the ordinary everyday weed, or wildling, and encourages us to look more closely at the botany, history and geography of our pavements, building edges, bridges and step cracks. From walks and talks, to a photography exhibitions and a pop-up cafĂ©, this event takes a number of forms and each promises to be equally interesting, informative and illuminating. 

Dirt and Martini's; Herbal cocktails in Kentish Town certainly sounds like one for tickling the taste buds. Head to the Boma Garden Centre, where they have teamed up with The Oxford Pub to bring you a Pop up Herb Garden. Sample herbal cocktails and summer snacks whilst being given top tips and expert advice on growing your own edibles at home.


The Tea Time Wonder Game invites you to become part of ‘a bizarre, wreathed in mist tea party’ and it sounds delightfully intriguing. After taking a place around the table, you become part of a performance that mixes Alice in Wonderland with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peter Pan, and adds a dash of Dali’s surrealism for good dreamland measure. Not necessarily directly related to gardening, but sounds fun nonetheless! 

 Brighton
Spend three delightful afternoons with artist Kate Osborne, exploring different watercolour techniques using the late Spring garden as inspiration. In Waterworks you will learn how to mix watercolour with other mediums to create your own beautiful botanical images.


 Bristol
This Pop up Edible Garden aims to show that you don’t need much space at all to grow your own food in the middle of a city. Popping up in a spot the size of a car parking space, you will be able to see for yourself the wide variety of food that can be squeezed into tight spaces and may even inspire you to turn those green fingers to growing fresh food.

Enjoy a literary evening at Bristol’s Chelsea Fringe Poetry Review. Garden and wildlife poetry will be performed by acclaimed poets as well as newcomers and the readings promise to be entertaining, informative and evocative. The perfect way to mix a little cultural learning with outdoor interests.

By Laura Peebles

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