The Chelsea Fringe is back!

This summer sees the return of the Chelsea Fringe. Now in its second year, this exciting, entirely volunteer-run celebration of plants, gardens and landscapes returns to London for three weeks from May 18 – June 9 2013.

From community and guerilla gardening projects, to art installations and pop-up restaurants and shops in inspiring venues across London and beyond, just about anything goes.

Last year there were over 100 projects and events, ranging from a floating forest in W10 to a bicycling beer garden roaming the capital. This year we’re expecting even more entries. And while the Fringe acts with the support of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we are entirely independent of it. This is what sets us apart:

London and beyond: Fringe events are occurring across London and further afield, not just Kensington and Chelsea (there are satellite Fringes planned for Bristol, Brighton and Vienna).

A show for everyone: Unlike the bigger shows, we won’t sell out, anyone can visit and, even better, most events are free. Anything goes: We work on an open access principle: as long as it’s legal, inspired by gardening, gardens, plants or landscape and, above all else, interesting to look at or interact with, then we want it.

Highlights of 2012’s Chelsea Fringe included:

  • The Edible High Road: an orchard of fruit trees ‘planted’ outside more than 50 shops along Chiswick High Road and Turnham Green.The Garden of Disorientation: landscape designer Deborah Nagan transformed a disused Smithfield slaughterhouse into a scented mint garden, complete with mojito bar, exhibition space and performance area.
  • The Bicycling Beer Garden: the unexpected hit of the Fringe, featuring a customized bicycle laden with planted-up beer cans, which travelled from venue to venue.
  • The Vegetable Olympics: an irreverent take on the Olympics involving several Fringe venues, opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at Spitalfields City Farm.
  • ‘Floating Forest’ at Portobello Dock: a mesmerising floating grid of 600 sections of tree-trunk, created by a Montreal design team and funded by the Government of Quebec.

Chelsea Fringe founder-director Tim Richardson says: “After the success of 2012, we’re gearing up for the Chelsea Fringe 2013 to be bigger and better. We have secured some fantastic venues ranging from Battersea Power Station to Hoxton’s Geffrye Museum and are attracting entries from all over the world. We may be a baby compared to the 100-year-old Chelsea Flower Show, but what we lack in age, we make up for in innovation – people involved in the Fringe are pushing the edges of our ideas of what gardens and landscapes, flowers and plants can be about, and that’s incredibly exciting.”

Click here for our Chelsea Fringe 2012 Pinboard.

Plant bulbs in the green

Posted by Lizzie Keogh, Blooming Direct for Shoot Marketplace

Late February and  March is the time to plant bulbs in the green. What better way to celebrate the end of winter!

Snowdrops (or Galanthus) and Aconites (or Eranthis) like to live in a partially shady area with moist soil and enjoy communal living! They will thrive far better when planted in the company of other snowdrops rather than alone. Woodland planting is ideal, though if you don’t own acres of forestry land, they are very happy under a single tree or at the front of a flower bed!

In the green bulbs will arrive with you with ready established roots and foliage making it easier to plan your planting scheme as you can see exactly where you have put each one. With our bulb planter, planting out your new bulbs couldn’t be simpler. Push the planter into the soil to the required depth using a turning, twisting action. Lift it out, retaining the soil. Pop the bulb into the hole and position the bulb planter over the hole, pressing the handle together to release the soil to fill in the hole around the bulb. If the roots are a bit dry, water them before planting them at a depth of about 10cm (4 inches in old money). Water them again when you have finished planting an area. You will see several years of flowering from this batch and next spring, after flowering, you can split the clumps in two, replanting one in the original position and the other in a new spot.

No plant says “British” quite like the traditional Bluebell, (or hyacinthoides non scripta) which have a later flowering period than aconites and snowdrops and should bloom this year from late spring to summer. They have very similar needs to the other in the green bulbs, though preferring a deeper plant of at least 15cm.

These bulbs can be planted straight out into their final position, why not go for the woodland effect and plant them in clusters around the base of trees?

Also please check out our all our bulbs for sale and special multi buy offers in the Shoot Marketplace on both mixed collections and single variety packs. Buy more and save money!