All Aboard for the Chelsea Fringe

Victoria cruziana water lily at University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Victoria cruziana water lily settling into the warmth of the glasshouse at Bristol Botanic Garden. 

A couple of weeks ago I went to the launch of the Bristol based slice of this year's Chelsea Fringe. It was great to visit the University of Bristol Botanic Garden again, as well as hearing about the plans for the festival.

Chelsea Fringe is now in its fifth year and Bristol has been involved from the start. It's great to see the Botanic Garden is joining in whole heartedly this year - you may remember Andy and the team joined in with my Shows of Hands online event 2 years ago.

Their events include the launch of 2016's Floating Ballast Seed Garden in Castle Park this Saturday, plus a wall plaque workshop and oil tasting events on 28th May at the garden. There's also a photography exhibition by Howard Sooley in the garden's cafe throughout the festival.

Bristol Chelsea Fringe giant watering can

My favourite event from the launch was the giant watering can which now graces the check-in area at Bristol airport for the next 3 weeks. Bristol street artist Damien Jeffery sprayed the design and it'll be joined by 6 stainless steel bees hovering above the can courtesy of Strawberry Steel.

Kudos to Alan Down of Cleeve Nursery for getting this together (and kindly letting me use the photo) - he was responsible for the mobile garden in a truck for last year's Fringe, which was seen in various spots around Bristol.

You can watch a video on the installation at the airport and also look out for how it progresses via the #canfly hashtag on Twitter. Most of the plants are destined for three local primary schools after the event (Winford, Wrington and Court de Wyck in Cleeve).

Other events of note are the Get Growing Garden Trail which starts on 4th June and an intriguing film showing at The Cube cinema on Sunday (May 22nd), called 'Do Trees Talk (and if so, do they talk to bees)?'

I'm disappointed to miss the film, but I'll still have the delight of visiting a Fringe event or two on Sunday as I'll be in London. I'm currently trying to decide between the kitchen garden open day at Chiswick House, a Living Wall in Brixton (for my Great Green Wall Hunt project), or the Roundabout Refresh in Battersea, which is near where I'll be staying. I hope to see at least 2 on the day, if not all three.

Full details of this year's events (May 21 to June 12) are found on the Chelsea Fringe website. The site is easy to use and you can hone down your choice of events by date and/or location. UK based events range from Cornwall to Scotland with a little bit of Wales thrown in for good measure, plus there's more across Europe, Japan and Australia.

If there isn't anything near you, then there's also a couple of online events to explore... oh, and if you liked the look of my recent walk around New Covent Garden Flower Market, there's a Behind the Wall tour on 21st May and 1st June.


  1. Woo-hoo! See you soon i hope.

    1. I'm so looking forward to it Dee :)

  2. There's a small part of me that misses living in/near Bristol when I read posts like this, but then I hear the sea and relax again ;-) Sounds as if you are going to have a blast at Chelsea, look forward to reading about it!

    1. Sadly the little bit of Wales involved is no nearer to you Janet! I'd love to be able to hear the sea, so that makes us quits :)


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