This week we’d like you to meet our guiding light, our ‘head gardener’, the guru of green TIM RICHARDSON. Legend has it Tim had the idea for a grassroots garden festival in bed. He’s an author and journalist, writing on garden and landscape design, and had been covering RHS Chelsea Flower Show for years. Then, bam, in 2012, he decided it was time to spread the green glow generated by this superb event to the wider community. Chelsea needed a fringe. So he founded one.

What has been your favourite Chelsea Fringe moment? There’ve been so many! I think it came in the first year when I realised we’d probably have more than the dozen or so projects I was crossing my fingers we’d get. (In the end we had about 110). It was then I realised the Fringe had struck a nerve and we had something… Kind of a private moment but there we are.

What’s it like being ‘the director’? Even though I’d thought of it, I wasn’t sure about diving in because of the obvious level of commitment. But I’m so glad I did. Now I work with a small band of volunteers who are also friends.

Tell us three words that sum up the Chelsea Fringe for you? Fun. Independent. Unpredictable.

What’s your top tip for someone taking part in the Fringe for the first time this year? It’s all about the people! So try to create a focal moment for your event like a party or a talk.

Who is your gardening hero? It’s not an individual but all those community gardeners who get out there and improve their locality through horticulture, as a gift as well as for their own benefit. That was partly what inspired me to start the Fringe. It was my way of joining in.

What’s your guilty pleasure, gardening or otherwise? I love sweets. Rhubarb and custards are my favourites.

What do you listen to in your writer’s garret? I’m mad about two bands: The Fall from Manchester, and Guided By Voices from Dayton, Ohio. I’ve been to the US and followed the latter band around a bit [ed: so Director Tim’s a groupie!].

Image: Tim Richardson, Director Chelsea Fringe


Other Chelsea Fringe Champions