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Chelsea’s Green Gardening Fringe

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Chelsea Fringe Family Day – Planting activities

If you think that blue is the colour when it comes to Chelsea, you’re wrong. Very wrong. Put all thoughts of the new Europa League winners and the return of the Special One to one side. And think green instead. Because spring brings gardens and gardening, and thoughts of lazy sunny days lubricated by Pimm’s… grass between your toes… and earth underneath your fingernails. And with the Chelsea Flower Show coming soon, there’s no better time to buy cheap train tickets to London and head down to SW3 to soak-up all the green-fingered action at the Chelsea Fringe.

‘Chelsea Fringe?’, we hear you say. Is that a haircut beloved of fashionistas on the King’s Road? No – it’s a festival of flowers, gardens and gardening, with no less than 100 different events across the whole of London (and even beyond in Kent, the legendary Garden of England) from 18 May to 9 June. And everyone’s invited.

Just like the huge informal fringes that have sprung up around artsy festivals like Edinburgh and Brighton, the Chelsea Fringe is allied to, but not formally part of the Chelsea Flower Show. Now in its second year, it takes gardening right out into the community and right in the heart of Britain’s biggest urban environment. It’s the opposite of elitist and expensive – and that’s got to be a good thing.

Green treats for 2013.

So what can you expect this year? Well, pretty much anything and everything green – and green-inspired. You’ll get to grips with guerilla gardening. Take in lush, verdant art. Chow down at pop-up eateries in amazing places. And, at the trad end of the horticultural spectrum, the BBC will be there too, with that real fixture of the airwaves, Gardener’s Question Time.

And all along you’ll get the chance to change your views about what gardens and flora are all about. So in other words, if you like to potter in the garden, or just like the idea of a greener London, book train tickets, book a cheap hotel, and get dug in. To make it even easier, you can buy a Travelcard (which gets you unlimited travel on the tube, buses and local trains) at the same time as your train ticket, saving you time and hassle when you get there.

Eat dirt, punk.

If you normally find London too dirty to swallow, try this. Among this year’s stand-out highlights are the edibles – satisfying, tasty bits of London you can actually eat – from an urban orchard to an edible high street and… wait for it… an edible bus stop. The mind boggles, not to mention the stomach.

If your constitution won’t quite stretch to digesting bits of street furniture, you’ll also get the chance to explore the fabulous garden squares of the capital – sometimes reserved for residents (or the lucky cognoscenti armed with Time Out), but now open to all to discover, and all for a limited time only.

Thank Kew

While you’re in London, you can also support Kew Gardens and earn loyalty points at the Kew Gardens Shop. And if you want to bring a hint of Chelsea back home, you can spend your points at our partner eFlorist while you’re waiting for your garden to grow.

So go green this May and welcome the long overdue return of Spring in Chelsea and beyond. Reconnect with a lusher, more organic version of you. We promise it’ll be blooming marvellous.

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    • Stephanie_1368778012

    • May 20, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Not impressed with the Tesco voucher exchange hold up!
    The vouchers are very late [Red Spotted Hanky problem I’m told ]
    They wont arrive in time to use them for the trip that has been planned. So going to Chelsea flower show is off for this pensioner!


      • May 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Hi Stephanie,

      Unfortunately due to exceptional demand, we have experienced delays allocating Tesco vouchers. We’re currently working to try and get everyone’s points to them as soon as possible and we’re really sorry that you haven’t been able to use yours for your trip.

      Again, we apologise for the inconvenience caused, redspottedhanky