“The Chelsea Fringe”- the Other flower show [Video & Audio]

Chelsea Fringe runs from May 19 until June 9 pic: Heidi Gao

All four East London Lines boroughs are playing host to a variety of events in the first-ever Chelsea Fringe, a parallel to the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

The Fringe is running a mixture of public spectacles, horticultural happenings and community celebrations, and is entirely volunteer-run aiming to “harness and spread some of the excitement and energy that fizzes around gardens and gardening.”

Independent of (though supported by) the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Fringe includes installations, events and experiences, exhibits, talks and walks, and aims to showcase a wide range of work from professionals and enthusiasts, both from the gardening world and beyond.

The full programme is available on the Fringe website and includes anything from “Colourful dinners to dye for” to “Pimp Your Pavement – plant life in your street.”

East London Lines visited Spitalfields Ctiy Farm, where they were encouraging people to “Get Your Hands Dirty.”

Lutfun Hussain, one of London’s local food leaders appointed by Mayor Boris Johnson, offered free training to women who want to learn how to grow organic fruit and vegetables. Some of the sessions are women only, but general sessions are open to all on Wednesdays.

When asked why they have the women-only session, the manager of the Spitalfields  City Farm- Mhairi Weir said: “This starts from our coriander club, which is a group of Asian ladies coming together, to grow together, and there were all cultural reasons that they didn’t want to mix with men, so we thought we appreciate that and on Wednesday, the same events are open to everybody.”

He says Spitalfields City Farm is more like a community farm:


There are a number of events happening across Tower Hamlets including the “After School Club” on Thursday, which is 8-13 years old only; “Young Farmers Club”  Saturday and “Eco-Chic Outdoor Marcket” on Sunday. You can also become a volunteer at the City Farm. For more information about the ‘Grow with Us’ and the volunteering programme , visit Grow with Us.

“Get Your Hands Dirty” is just one of the events happening as part of the Chelsea Fringe.

Chelsea Fringe in Hackney

In Hackney there are a variety of walks and bike rides. A guided bike ride exploring wildflower and food growing projects sets off at 11am from Homerton Station on June 9.

The Geffrye Museum is hosting several events during the Chelsea Fringe. On June 7 there’ll be a day of free activities for children aged 3-16 inspired by the Geffrye’s aromatic walled herb garden.

On  June 2 children aged 5+ can be inspired by the mini-beasts, animals, plants and flowers in the Geffrye’s gardens and make 19th-century style wooden toys; and on Saturday June 2 and Wednesday June 6 there’ll be tours of the museum’s restored 18th century gardens and historic almshouse.

St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch, which features in the much loved “Oranges and Lemons” nursery rhyme, will be transformed into an urban oasis with a citrus theme for the fringe




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