Showing posts with label Chelsea Fringe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chelsea Fringe. Show all posts

19 Feb 2017

Never mind the roses

Hellebore atrorubens
~ Wisley borders, Valentine's Day - Hellebore atrorubens aka the Lenten Rose ~

It's rare that I can look back on a week so positively plumped with gardening goodness but the past seven days have been  just that - filled with gardening hygge, the feel good vibe that I get when surrounded by nature, chatting to fellow garden enthusiasts or getting my hands into the soil or around a pair of secateurs.

28 May 2014

(Almost Wordless Wednesday) Chelsea Fringe: A second show of hands

Whilst I'm going through my Chelsea photos (and thinking of something original to say about the day!), I couldn't resist posting these pictures.

The giant glove made of roses caught my eye as being perfect for VP's Shows of Hands project for the Chelsea Fringe*; I especially like the photo with the assistant soaking up the Chelsea atmosphere over a cuppa but ...

…am I alone in thinking the guy in the second photo looks like an actor - perhaps from the Father Ted tv show?  If anyone recognises him, please put me out of my misery!!

* You can contribute to Shows of Hands until June 8th. Read more about it on the Veg Plotting blog.

18 May 2014

Chelsea Fringe: Shows of Hands

As an alternative to the Chelsea Flower Show - which I will now be visiting (*thrilled*) - the Chelsea Fringe, now in its third year, has become hugely popular and even global! It's a massive success story and worth checking the Fringe website to see if anything is happening in your neck of the woods.  If not, why not organise something for next year?

VP from Veg Plotting blog who organised the globally accessible Fringe cake event, The Bloggers' Cut, last year has come up with another winning event for this year.  Her project is called 'Shows of Hands' and you can read about it on her blog.  It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can join in - and the more the merrier!

I don't like the look of my own hands; they are outdoor hands, lined and with age spots creeping in,  but I've been drawn to images of working hands since I first studied photography as part of my belated design degree at St. Martins two decades ago. I was initially inspired by Dorothea Lange's images of the migrant farm families, the American dustbowl pioneers in the Depression era.  I'm therefore hugely excited by VP's project and have trawled back through my veg patch photos to see if my own hands have crept into any of my pics.  There was a total of five over the past few years and I asked my son to take the last photo - me on the balcony, gently stroking and talking to my plants, an activity I indulge in daily.

I'm pleased with the ones that I've found as I think they reveal a little of the joy that I get from immersing myself in all aspects of being an urban grower. Working hands, working towards a simple life.

Batter coating courgette flowers for deep frying; plaiting onions; checking roots before repotting; talking to my plants. 

#shows of hands
I'm calling my collage 'Gardener Cook'
All photos taken at my home in London NW5 between 2012 and 2014.

Read more about the Fringe in this Daily Telegraph article.

4 Jun 2013

Cake, Sunday, the Fringe benefits.

Chelsea Fringe, now in its second year, has been offering up a range of creative garden themed events over the past two weeks. One of the events that I've been looking forward to was the Cake Sunday organised by Naomi of Outofmyshed blog.  Her community gardening project, the focus of her excellent book Veg Street, hosts regular cake and tea events for local residents to get together and share garden chat.  Last year and this, as part of Chelsea Fringe, the street has welcomed members of the public to have a good gawp at their lovely front gardens and planted tree pits in the pavements, eat cake, drink tea, make seed bombs and have a good chat.  This year the event also boasted a grand opening by a group of Chelsea Pensioners and singalong entertainment from allotmenteer and songstress Jo Stephenson.

Singer and crowd

Running alongside the real-life Cake Sunday has been a virtual version, the Bloggers Cut, hosted by Veg Plotting blog, to bring a wider internet gardening community together over more cake!  As I took part in both, I had some hard decisions to make regarding what sort of cake I would make.  I love baking cakes but had to limit myself to just one. (Actually, I made two but the coffee sponge with cappucino marscapone filling was bagged by my teenager for a stay-at-home cake.)

Various recipes using garden grown ingredients were considered: should it be my summer fruits traybake or perhaps Jono's almond topped rhubarb cake?  I would have loved the recipe for the carrot and courgette cake which a local cafĂ© serves but in the end opted for this lemon and polenta cake which I topped with edible flowers and petals held on with a lemon glaze.


Once over at the event, I dropped the cake off and quickly locked my bicycle.  I'd missed the grand opening by the Chelsea Pensioners (thanks to faffing around collecting edible flowers) but was in time to hear some hilarious songs by the singing allotmenteer, Jo Stephenson.  I'd spied this fabulously retro-frocked and wellied up creature chatting to visitors as I supped tea with some friends I'd bumped into.


Jo kept us entertained with her true life songs of stolen marrows, slugs and Alan Titchmarsh (not necessarily in the same song), standing among the potatoes and alliums of the disco ball community rock garden.  Jo and her singing partner Dan have a show called 'Can You Dig It?' on next Saturday, 8th June in Bethnal Green.

Whilst everyone was gathered round, it was the perfect opportunity to present the awards for the best planting in a tree pit, with a small trophy presented to each of the three recipients. As I understand it, judging by the Curious Gardener and Veronica from Which? Gardening was firm but fair.  Monocultures not allowed. Diversity of planting gaining extra points. Colin is a hard man to sway.

Tree pit prizes

Earlier in the day, local resident Tim Bushe had demonstrated his topiary cutting;  I already knew of the elephants that he'd created and wanted to pop back for a closer look. I absolutely love them - if I had a large scruffy privet hedge, I'd want my own herd.

Herd ele

Another hedge had been clipped in a vertical box design with an arched entrance to the garden and reminded me of Christopher Bradley-Hole's clipped show garden for the Telegraph at Chelsea.

That just left time for a quick tour of the neighbourhood front gardens;  the project has encouraged many households to grow both edible and ornamentals and to create gardens they're proud of.  There are some lovely gardens in the street - out of many, these three caught my eye and I was able to have a quick chat to one or two of the owner gardeners.

Front garden 1
Lovely juxtaposition of colours in this garden, especially the way the slate mulch echoes the colours of the planting.

Front Garden 3
Thriving plants in this garden get morning sun and are well tended by an enthusiastic owner. 
I was invited through to see the back garden which is even lovelier with extremely well stocked borders.

Front garden 2
This corner plot was untended a few years ago and slightly letting the show down.  Now planted up with strawberries, potatoes and ornamental perennials (and disco rock balls!), it's a visual treat.
It was a wonderfully fun afternoon with a great community ethos - ideas that could be taken up by anyone wanting to get to know gardening neighbours better (we gardeners do love a good horticultural chat!).  As I cycled off back to reality (last minute supermarket shopping), some of the crowd had dispersed towards another Fringe event - a foraging walk at nearby Islington Ecology Centre - which Naomi had kindly reminded us about - another example of community spirit.
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