When: 19th – 27th May 2018
Where: London (and the across the UK)
£: Most events are free
What is it?
Chelsea Fringe, the alternative garden festival, will run for nine days from Saturday 19th to Sunday 27th May, with hundreds of eclectic events expected to take place across London, the UK, and worldwide.
The fringe was launched in 2012 as an inclusive and open festival of community horticulture, and has flourished ever since as a celebration of the rich variety of vibrant ways in which people engage with gardening and plants.
The 7th annual Chelsea Fringe will burst into life with events including hands-on gardening sessions, art installations, walks, workshops, talks, food tastings, open days, film screenings, exhibitions and performances. Its open-access principle means that just about anything goes (as long as it’s interesting and legal, and on the subject of gardens, flowers, veg-growing or landscape)!
Whilst the organisers set no theme, a number of trends have emerged for 2018, with many events focusing on the role of gardens and plants in wellbeing and health. These include a celebration of the work of 17th century apothecary John Parkinson at the gardens of the British Medical Association (Bloomsbury, London); an exhibition of botanical paintings of plants that promote good cardiac health (The Chelsea Courtyard, London); a workshop with medical herbalist Alex Laird and top chef Arthur Potts Dawson to explore how foods and herbs work therapeutically in us, and a talk and workshop on fermentation and its role in a healthy gut (both at Omved Gardens, Haringey, London).
Food and drink feature prominently, with edible growing of vegetables, herbs and botanicals all included in this year’s fringe. A Herb Boat moored in Hackney will host an exploration of the history of bitters and botanicals and their use in cocktails; Lauriston School will be inviting open day visitors ‘grow a pizza’; and you can learn the art of salad making at the Jetty in Greenwich. Chiswick House’s renowned kitchen garden will also be hosting open days.
Art is another prominent theme at this year’s fringe. Visitors will be able to follow join a Botanical Sculpture Trail of Walthamstow Wetlands; visit the first London solo show of botanical collages by American artist Jane Hammond, at Lyndsey Ingram Gallery; take part in a human-powered floral sundial at the Patmore Estate in Battersea; or try out cyanotyping and sun printing at King Henry’s Walk Garden.
Trees get a special mention for 2018, with a host of events taking place as part of the first Urban Tree Festival, including an online map of London’s favourite trees as chosen by tree officers in each of London’s 33 Boroughs.
As ever, many events defy categorisation, such as a theatrical performance exploring the Great Hedge of India at the South London Botanical Institute, a cycle-based Tour de Plants run by the Geffrye Museum, and a series of installations and exhibitions in Sicily. 2018 also sees events taking place in Henley-on-Thames, Bracknell Forest, Exeter and Pentillie Castle in Cornwall.
Every year the fringe attracts a wide range of contributors and venues including community garden groups, artists, poets, chefs, galleries, schools, cemetery parks and major institutions such as the Geffrye Museum, Kew, the Inner Temple, the Natural History Museum and Covent Garden Flower Market, among many others.
More info: www.chelseafringe.com