Chelsea Fringe Events in Kent 2015
16th May -7th June
Dubbed ‘the fastest growing fringe festival ever’ by the World Festival network, the Chelsea Fringe, www.chelseafringe.co.uk now in its fourth year, is firmly established as a highlight of the gardening calendar. ‘The idea is twofold, to celebrate the amazing work that community gardens do, and to open up links between gardens and art, poetry, fashion and food….people meet each other and become friends across all sorts of social and other divides,’ says its founder, the distinguished garden writer, Tim Richardson. For a full explanation of the Chelsea Fringe see my previous blog posted in June 2014.
Nearly 200 events are registered as I type (*there is still time to whip up a happening and register it). The Chelsea Fringe is now truly global with satellites this year in Milan, Florence, Melbourne and even Nagoya in Japan. Back here in Blighty, the Kent satellite is flourishing with a host of events.
Taking part in the Fringe for the third time, The Walled Nursery, on the Tongswood estate near Hawkhurst http://thewallednursery.com are continuing their 2014 theme of ‘Walled Therapy,’ raising awareness and funds for the imaginative charity Gardening Leave www.gardeningleave.org
which promotes horticultural therapy within walled gardens, to support armed forces ‘past and present. The benefits of working in an enclosed environment for those with mental health issues are immediately obvious.
‘Let’s be honest about mental health,’ says Emma Davies, who with her husband, Monty, run the Walled Nursery. ‘We want to show the veterans that we appreciate what they have done for our country and give them a boost. We seem too ready to hail wounded servicemen as the heroes they are but turn away from those with deeper wounds.
The Davies are creating a semi-circular garden planted with therapeutic plants where visitors can sit and absorb the palpable tranquil atmosphere of this heavenly nursery. And also ponder on the fate of the 14 men from the estate who lost their lives in the First World War. The nursery is brimming with covetable plants in tip top condition and is run with enormous passion and flair by the Davies’s.
‘It’s all about thinking outside the wheelbarrow,’ says Head Gardener, Andrew McCoryn at Leeds Castle, www.leeds-castle.com near Maidstone. Visitors to the castle will need to keep their eyes peeled for quirky displays of plants and flowers across the estate created using upcycled unwanted objects belonging to staff at the Castle.
In addition, Andrew McCoryn will be giving talks at 11.30 every Wednesday throughout the Fringe on the history of the garden and its maintenance with useful tips for visitors to take home. Meet outside the Fairfax Restaurant. 6th & 7th June Children will be able to paint a flower pot and plant a sunflower in it.
Here at Doddington Place, we are hosting three lectures all at 11am. Admission charge £6.00
20th May a talk by Blooming Green about setting up a pick your own cut flower business (see my previous blog posted on 1.10.14) http://bloominggreen.co.uk
27th May a talk on ‘Growing and Caring for Sweet Peas’ by Philip Johnson of www.johnsonsweetpeas co.uk(again see my previous blog posted on 15.10.14).
3rd June a talk on ‘Good Plants for Tough Places’ by Quentin Stark, Head Gardener at Hole Place, nr. Rolvenden, Kent www.holepark.com.
At the Turner Contemporary gallery www.turnercontemporary.org in Margate, a pop up version of the Chelsea Flower Show, designed to raise the profile of the plight of bumblebees, will be included in the exhibition Grayson Perry: Provincial Punk’ 23rd May – 13th September.
Those of you who saw Rosie MacCurrach’s drawings of Great Dixter, www.greatdixter.co.uk where she was Artist in Residence, in 2014 will have another chance to see more in ‘Cross-Pollination,’
an exhibition at The Shed Studio, 29 Dynevor Road, Tunbridge Wells, of drawings, paintings, prints and textiles by three artists-in-residence: Anne Kelly, artist-in-residence at Sussex Prairies Garden www.sussexprairies.co.uk in 2014 and Louise Pettifer, the current artist-in-residence at Sissinghurst Castle www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-gardenPlus a programme of garden art and craft activities plus demonstrations.
Finally at Walmer Castle, www.english-heritage.org.uk near Deal over the weekend of the 6th and 7th June there will be an opportunity to ‘Explore the wonder of the Great British Garden’.
If you are not in Kent don’t despair there are events all over England, from Aberdeen to Dalston in London’s East End. Seek them out and have fun.