Forward planning: what’s on in London, week three, 30 May to 7 June

SATURDAY 30 MAY
The Wellington Tower, SW1
A witty commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Plantastic Gardens, Horniman Museum and Gardens, SE23
Wes Shaw and his team explore the themes of the Horniman’s indoor, interactive Plantastic exhibition with three bespoke planting schemes: Anatomy of a Flower, Sunseekers and Planting for Pollinators.

Taking a Turn: Mental Health History of Hospital Gardens, Exchange Square, EC2
This garden installation on the site of Bedlam – Bethlam Royal Hospital – the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, brings together medicine, history and horticulture in its exploration of therapeutic regimes for mental health.

BEST of BOST – explore green and edible Bankside, SE1
Download a free map and discover Edible Bankside Projects in the heart of London.

More

What’s on in London this week: Saturday 23 to Friday 29 May

SATURDAY 23 MAY
The Wellington Tower, SW1
A witty commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Taking a Turn: Mental Health History of Hospital Gardens, Exchange Square, EC2
This garden installation on the site of Bedlam – Bethlam Royal Hospital – the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, brings together medicine, history and horticulture in its exploration of therapeutic regimes for mental health.

BEST of BOST – explore green and edible Bankside, SE1
Download a free map and discover Edible Bankside Projects in the heart of London.

The Sunshine Trail – Bringing Sunflowers to Lee and Hither Green, Manor Park, SE15
Collect seeds and information from schools or local shops, follow the planting instructions and hey presto, you’ll have sunflower seedlings for planting days at Manor Park, Manor House Gardens and Lee Fair Shares in Leegate.

More

The Fringe is here! What’s on this week

The Chelsea Fringe kicks off on Saturday 16 May, with a host of horticultural happenings exploding out of the  world’s most famous flower show.

You don’t have to be in London to take part – the Fringe reaches all corners of the world. During the end of May and the start of June, Chelsea Fringe events will be taking place all over the country and in other parts of Europe, with a Fringe in Japan and Australia this year too. You can use the pull-down menu under ‘Locations’ to find the events near you. For starters, here’s a round-up of what’s going on in London this week.

SATURDAY MAY 16

The Wellington Tower, Oldfield Partners, SW1
A witty commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

Taking a Turn: Mental Health History of Hospital Gardens, Exchange Square, EC2
This garden installation is on the site of Bedlam – Bethlam Royal Hospital – the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, and brings together medicine, history and horticulture in its exploration of therapeutic regimes for mental health.

BEST of BOST – explore green and edible Bankside, SE1
Download a free map and discover Edible Bankside Projects in the heart of London.

More

The Fringe is coming: this year’s themes

It’s all about the gardeners, not the gardens at the Chelsea Fringe and, with participants from all over the world, it’s no surprise that there’s an incredible range of events in this year’s festival.

Each event is a little seed bomb in itself, dispersing new ideas far and wide – a fun way to track which way the wind is blowing.

Many events explore the landscape we live in. Others are a celebration, pure and simple, of the beauty of plants, community and the season. We don’t tell event organisers what to do, they create their own programmes, so the Fringe is a true reflection of what gardeners the world over care about, are moved by and want to change.

SOS bees

A world without pollinators would be devastating for food production and an urgent call to protect our bees runs as a thread through this year’s festival. HoneyComb Meadow and Pick-up Pollinators in Bristol provide new habitats and a nectar corridor through the city. Fringe events in Slovenia showcase Urban Beekeeping, and remind us that Bees Visit the Museum Too – in this case the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, which has planted buckwheat its garden to attract pollinators and raise awareness of their decline. In West London, meanwhile, a Wildflower Bee Hotel aims to attract both solitary and bumble bees, and there’s a definite buzz in the air in East Sussex at Oh Beehive!

Other events look at intensive, monocultural agriculture versus ecological farming. It’s All about the Soil in London bigs up one of our most precious resources. In Italy, events such as Conversations at the Farmhouse examine the relationship between the city and its surrounding countryside, and The Old Villa outside the City looks at the way the farm estates of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were models of sustainability.

What do gardens do for us?

Things take a philosophical turn at The Supper Debate, when ThinkinGardens asks whether we should want more than gardening from gardens, and writers answer the question How do we cultivate our Garden? in 100 words or less. Travelling through a garden becomes an existential journey in Boundary/33 in Florence, and The Garden of Disorientation Volume 2 and The Garden of You… and the Wishing Tree, both in South London.

Hello, petal

On a more flowery note, the Floral Flotilla and Floral Couture and Cocktails at Henley-on-Thames sum up all that is beautiful about early summer in England. There’s full-on flower power at A Celebration of the Rose at London’s Flower Lounge, Blooming Gardens in Kent, and a behind-the-scenes tour of New Covent Garden Market. Flowers take central stage in dozens of Fringe events, from a perfume-making workshop in West London to Flower-up on Japan’s Oro Island.

Food for thought

Growing food in small urban spaces gets a lot of attention this year. Window boxes, balconies, pots – gardeners are making use of all of these to grow food, from salad leaves to a Portable Orchard. Japanese architects are experienced at extracting maximum value from small spaces, and gardeners are too, as Tiny Vegetable Garden in Bags in Nagakute demonstrates. Check out Four Ps in our Garden in Aberdeen, where they’re doing something similar using a Bag for Life. There are many opportunities to forage for wild food in the heart of our cities, and a new appreciation of the wealth of urban herbs that hide in plain sight.

Gardening is clearly a catalyst for change, with radical street planting schemes by school children in Milan, and community gardens everywhere, including TKY in Nagoya, Bristol and Clapton Park – the poppy estate in London. All of them garden experiences that defy the norm.

The Fringe is coming: at-a-glance guide to satellite events

The World Festival Network has called the Chelsea Fringe ‘the fastest-growing Fringe festival ever’. We’re proud of the fact that from Milan to Melbourne and Sicily to Scotland there are so many Fringe events for gardeners and plant lovers to enjoy as part of this year’s festival.

The medieval city of Ljubljana joins Chelsea Fringe Festival for a second year, with events taking place across street markets, community allotments, rooftops and balcony gardens. Italian Fringe venues include ancient farmhouses in the Po Valley in the north, a secret garden in Florence, and an innovative “park of new opportunities” near Mount Etna. The Japanese cities of Nagoya and Fukuoka will be joining in the fun, with 19 events including community projects and a truck that’s been transformed into a garden. Down under in Australia, two botanic gardens will be showcasing the work of students celebrating how life is sustained and enriched by plants. And in the UK, there’s a rich cross-pollination of ideas and events across the nation, from Aberdeenshire to Kent.

Ready for a grand tour? Here’s a city-by-city guide of satellite Fringe events that have registered so far. More are joining by the day, so keep checking back for what’s on near you.

Australia

Melbourne

Melbourne and Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens join the Fringe to celebrate how ‘Life is sustained and enriched by plants’ with a series of pop-up art gardens created by students.

Italy

Florence

Boboli the Alchemic Garden Follow the alchemic symbolism of the Medici in the Boboli gardens on a walk led by expert on ancient traditions Costanza Riva.
Artigianato e Palazzo The Giardino Corsini is hosting a series of events including a showcase for artisan products, a cookery demo, and a Blogs&Crafts event, in which 10 young makers will show off their craft skills, while 10 young writers live blog about them.
Spunta il Seme – ‘The Seed Peeps Out’ Local plant lovers go on a seed collecting safari and share tips on successful seed saving.
Gli Agrumi dell’Orto – ‘Citrus in the Garden’ Botanical drawings by Simonetta Occhipinti in the lemonary of Florence’s Botanical Garden, which reopens this year after restoration.
Boundary/33 Three artists and a chef guide visitors on a journey through an enclosed and hidden walled garden that plays with the concept of boundaries.
Tutto sulle Aromatiche – ‘All About Herbs’ Hands-on workshops on the identification and use of aromatic plants at the Association Radici Quadrate. The herbs on display in the Association’s garden were grown using organic methods by the inmates of the Mario Gozzini prison in Florence.
Olmo’s Garden Walk Scandicci, near Florence. Olmo’s garden is a labour of love tucked away in the hilly area south of Florence. Alessandro Vergari, its curator, will take you on a short walk, pausing for readings from his book Con le Mani nella Terra, and to indentify wild flowers and herbs.

Milan and Lombardy

Let’s Discover the Virgilian Wood Get an insight into the landscape that inspired the poet Virgil to write the Bucolics, on a walk through ancient oaks of the Riazzolo forest led by Nicolò Reverdini, and travel to a protected ‘agricultural park’ to see how the Lombardy plain used to look.
Bicycle Ride Among the Trees Bike around the historic centre with agronomist Francesca Oggionni, and identify the city’s most significant trees.
Preserved Nature A rare chance to visit the herbarium of Milan’s Natural History Museum – normally closed to the public – with Dr Mami Azuma, who will give a guided tour of highlights from the 30,000 precious items in the collection.
Let’s Put Our Hands in the Earth Milan’s city government is allowing a radical remake of its municipal flowerbeds by handing over several of them to school children for them to try out experimental planting schemes that the parks department will then maintain. A reminder that these little patches of urban greenery are a public asset and belong to us.
Conversations at the farmhouse Public lectures on landscape and architecture, and the relationship between cultivation and culture. Part of the first ‘Milan, Rural City’ conference that aims to create new alliances between the city and the surrounding countryside.
Blendscape: new visions A series of symposia taking a new look at the city and its surroundings as if they were one big garden, waiting to be cultivated and cared for.
Piet Oudolf Lecture Writer and cultural commentator Claudia Zanfi hosts an illustrated lecture on influential designer Piet Oudolf.
The Man Who Planted Trees A dramatic monologue based on the short story by Jean Giono. This tells the tale of a shepherd’s single-handed efforts to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Provençal Alps in the first half of the 20th century.
Nurseries in Italy; Projects in the world National conference examining the contribution of Italian nurseries to greening leading cities around the world.
LET1 Cycle Path The launch of a 36km circular cycle path in conjunction with the LET Landscape Expo Tour.
Umbrella fiorita con MatriosKe  This work by installation artist Francesca Fadalti and floral designer Simone Sirtori travels to Milan by way of Brescia (see below).
Flora Italica A travelling installation underlining the effort needed to preserve local flora by LandAlab.
Orto Storto Upcycle fruit boxes to make a kitchen garden.

Bergamo

Passegiata in the Parco del Serio Walk through a typical lowland ecosystem, discovering heritage varieties of fruit and wild gardens, feast on herb pancakes, then tour waterscapes, fountains and farmhouses with landscape architect Alessandro Carelli.
Perennials for a mixed border Garden design workshop with Rosanna Castrini in the beautiful terraced garden of Bergamo’s Palazzo Moroni.
Umbrella fiorita con MatriosKe  This work by installation artist Francesca Fadalti and floral designer Simone Sirtori travels to Bergamo from Milan and Brescia (see below).
Flora Italica A travelling installation underlining the effort needed to preserve local flora by LandAlab.
Orto Storto Upcycle fruit boxes to make a kitchen garden.

Brescia

Umbrella fiorita con MatriosKe  Toscolano Maderno, 40km from Brescia The Botanical Gardens hosts a work by installation artist Francesca Fadalti and floral designer Simone Sirtori using matryoska nesting dolls to show how nature offers both protection and shelter. The work is a tribute to three dedicated Italian plantswomen who travelled the globe in search of new species, and who fought for the protection of great gardens.
Orto Storto Toscolano Maderno, 40km from Brescia Upcycle fruit boxes to make a kitchen garden.
Flora Italica Installation underlining the effort needed to preserve local flora by LandAlab.
The use of wild plants in ornamental gardens Based on the plantings around Brescia’s castle, this exhibition shows sustainable new varieties of wild plants suitable for garden use.
Tasting dinner of native herbs Learn to identify foraged wild plants from the surrounding countryside, then enjoy eating them as part of a gourmet dinner, accompanied by early music.
Matiteverdi green experience Matiteverdi, an advocate for outdoor space, leads school children in a session to create a small community garden.
The Old Villa outside the city The ‘Villa di Campagna’ as a model of sustainability. Event celebrating the farm estates of the 16th to 18th centuries around Brescia and Cremona, when self-sufficiency and stewardship of the land were the norm.

Sicily

Green corner with ice cream Giarre, near Etna. Landscape designer Ermanno Casasco shares his passion for Mediterranean gardens at Radicepura – which describes itself as a ‘Park of New Opportunities’ – over a granita, Sicily’s famous slushy dessert.

Slovenia

Ljubljana

Plant Fair Growers set out their stalls for a seedling and plant sale and swap at the University Botanic Gardens of Ljubljana.
Third National Crops2swap Day What better way to eat better, save money, reduce food waste and meet the neighbours? Crops2swap (or Zelemenjava in Slovene) is a way to exchange surplus seeds, young plants and produce from your home garden – the only rule is, no money can change hands. This event takes place in Ljubljana and 17 other towns in Slovenia.
Rooftop Garden Classroom Learn how to make chamomile skin-soothers, herbal teas to aid concentration for studying, and healthy lunches at the community rooftop garden at the Jozͮe Plecͮnik Ljubljana High School.

UK

Aberdeenshire

Four Ps in our Garden Drum Castle and Garden, Banchory, Aberdeen A photography competition, poetry, planting up a Bag for Life as a doorstep herb garden, and people-focused walks and workshops.

Brighton and Sussex

Strictly Gardening Hayward’s Heath A fun, community-inspired event including a public Question Time on all things green, and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Oh Beehive! Henfield Austin Flowers will be creating a buzz in the largest beehive in Sussex at the Sussex Prairie Garden.

Bristol

HoneyComb Meadow Mobile, interlinking hexagonal planters in Bristol’s Millennium Square create a river of wildflowers, and a safe route through the city centre for pollinators.
Arboreata Streeta A community led art installation, part of the Southbank Bristol Arts Trail, and a celebration of trees in the city.
Luckwell Park Community Day The Luckwell Improvement Project, run by local people, brings three adjacent plots of open space together for community use – their fun day, complete with hanging basket project, is part of the Fringe.
Bee Wheelin’ Garden A free, two-day workshop to create a mobile seating, eating and planting structure using reclaimed timber, spare bike parts and wild plants.
Bristol Victorian House Garden Grenville Johnson’s garden – complete with a temple folly and mossy grotto – is open to the public during the Chelsea Fringe. Grenville’s garden is in Kensington Road: the Resident’s Association is a five-time winner of the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood competition, and is now working with Bristol University to introduce bee-friendly zones in the neighbourhood.
Horticultural Village The 152nd Royal Bath & West Show hosts a new ‘horticultural village’ this year, with pop-up gardens and interactive workshops, plus the Instant Garden Challenge, where teams compete to build a garden from scratch.
Bristol Patchwork Community Gardening Group A gardening session – part of a regular monthly programme – to help transform and maintain abandoned plots of land in the Bedminster area of Bristol.
Bristol Wild Food Feast A day of foraging in the hedgerows and wild areas of the Community Farm in Somerset, followed by a demonstration of how to turns these into a delicious meal.  The Community Farm is a social enterprise growing and selling organic food through a box delivery service, with the aim of helping people develop a better understanding of where their food comes from, and reconnect with the land.
Pick-up Pollinators An installation in an upcycled Mitsubishi pick-up truck planted with edible plants, to show how vital bees and other pollinating insects are for our food security.
Photography in the Garden: Quick Start Guide An enjoyable “how-to” in the beautiful and exotic surroundings of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.
Bristol Southville Garden Club Talk Martin from Go Foraging tells how much free food is available, provided you know what you are looking for.
Bristol Get Growing Garden Trail More than 25 community projects to explore, ranging from pocket growing sites in parks, to miniature orchards tucked behind shops.

Cambridge

The Bathtub Pond at No.38 – Feeding Time The caretaker of a pond in a front garden in Cambridge says: “People seem to like it,” so is opening up feeding time for its fish, tadpoles, frogs and other creatures to the public for the duration of the Fringe.
Floatopia Artist Amy Spencer’s illuminated floating garden at Jesus Green Lock on the River Cam embodies philosopher Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopia: pieces of floating space, disconnected places that live by their own devices.
Cambridge Tripping the Light Plantastic: Dancing the Flowers A spoken-word and improvised dance event in Murray Edwards Garden.

Henley-on-Thames

Floral Flotilla Henley’s boat owners will be decorating their craft – from paddle boards to paddle steamers – with all things plant-and flower-related for a parade up and downstream from Mill Meadows.
Wallflowers: an exhibition of floral art Artworks with a floral theme by artists with links to the Henley area.
The Healing Gardeners Complementary therapists who also happen to love plants and gardens offer a taste of relaxing healing and (if the weather’s good) a cup of tea in the garden.
Babylon Plants and Flowers Open Day Admire the floral installation inspired by a Matisse cut-out, with the chance to buy plants (normally trade only) and enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade and a slice of homemade cake.
An Evening of Floral Couture and Cocktails Pink is the new black: find out how to create your summer wardrobe from what’s growing in the garden, while you sip on botanical cocktails courtesy of Floral Circus.
Bosley Patch open garden and community art event Learn how to hand-tie a posy, find insects and amphibians among the vegetables and enjoy the chaos and the beauty of a spring garden at Bosley Patch, a family-run market garden. Children have the chance to take part in a fantastic floral art project, building a Matisse-inspired garden in an afternoon. For adults, refreshment is provided by local brewery Lovibonds.

Kent

Let’s Be Honest Hawkhurst Visit the new walled garden in one of the best-preserved Victorian kitchen gardens in the country, and remember the ‘Tongswood 14’ from the estate who lost their lives fighting in the First World War. This event highlights the great work done by the charity Gardening Leave, which helps ex-servicemen and women heal from the invisible wounds of conflict.
Floristry Talk  Doddington, near Sittingbourne. Jen Stuart Smith of Blooming Green will give the inside track on making the most of cut flowers in a talk at Doddington Place Gardens.
Growing and Caring for Sweet Peas Doddington, near Sittingbourne A talk by Philip Johnson of Johnson’s Sweet Peas.
Cross Pollination at the Fringe Tunbridge Wells Three artists – Anne Kelly, Rosie MacCurrach and Louise Pettifer – show drawings, paintings, prints and textiles from their time as artist in residence at Sussex Prairies, Great Dixter and Sissinghurst respectively.
Blooming Gardens Deal Walmer Castle launches its newly restored, Jekyll-inspired Broadwalk borders, which have been four years in the making, in a day of talks, tours, teas, games and live music.
Plants for Difficult Places Doddington, near Sittingbourne Professional gardener Quentin Stark reveals his choice of plants that will survive anything for those tricky corners of the garden where nothing else will grow.

 

The Chelsea Fringe is growing so fast, and new events are being added all the time. Keep up-to-date by searching by location or visiting our What’s On page for more. And don’t forget, there’s still time to join our Friends scheme, volunteer or register a Fringe event.

 

Load More