Chelsea Fringe is Chelsea Flower Show's unruly and unrestricted offspring. It's an alternative horticultural festival for everyone that has spread like ivy across the UK. Coming up are three weeks of glorious gardening and growing events and experiences across the UK. Here are some of our local London highlights.
Floating Garden, Regent's Park: An archipelago of small floating islands create a new imaginative ecosystem on the lake in Queen Mary's Garden in the Inner Circle (free, throughout festival)
Hugo Bugg Chelsea gold-winning garden at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens: Every Friday during the Fringe there's a garden party in the 2014 award-winning waterscape garden by Hugo Bugg - the youngest ever gold medal winner at Chelsea Flower Show. Garden parties take place from 12-3pm on 22 and 29 May and 5 June. The garden is also open the public throughout this year and free to visit and admire.
The Garden of Disorientation in Brixton: Step inside a shipping container and discover the dark, edgy, sub-soil world of roots and bulbs, and an explosion of petals and colour on 22 May between 12-2pm and 5-8pm.
Plantastic Gardens at Horniman Museum: Three pop-up gardens explore the themes of the Museum's indoor Plantastic exhibition with bespoke planting created by the Horniman Gardens team — seek out Anatomy of a Flower, Planting for Pollinators and the mass of sunflowers that make up Sunseekers. Free, from 30 May throughout the Fringe, and culminating in the Gardens Festival on 7 June, with live music from the London Vegetable Orchestra!
Walk the Peckham Coal Line: A new linear park aims to connect Queen's Road Peckham with Peckham Rye, using the disused Rickett coal sidings which were decommissioned in the 1950s. South London's answer to the New York High Line! Walk the 1km route on 30 May, between 11am-5pm, starting from the Bussey Building.
Plant Cemetery: We've all killed a house plant in our time, right? The Idler Academy is building a temporary cemetery for all the house plants you tried to love but failed to nourish (or those you couldn't bear to look after). Take along your departed plants and write them an epitaph on 1 June. See them join the great big compost heap in W2. At the end of the Fringe there'll be a celebratory wake fuelled by gin to send them off.
Summer Fair in Tower Hamlets: Try basket weaving and other woodland crafts in Tower Hamlets Cemetery, go pond dipping or just admire this fantastic nature reserve and park on a guided walk on 6 June, from 12-5pm.
Olden Community Garden Party: Ever heard of it? We bet not. It's a 2.5 acre patch which includes an acre of woodland, a small meadow, an orchard, a vegetable garden and a flower-fringed lawn all within a free-kick’s distance of the Emirates Stadium. There'll be live music, barbecue, tea and cake and more. A true hidden gem, if you have difficulty finding the door there's a number you can call. The Garden Party takes place on 7 June between 2-7pm. Entry £5, kids £3.
Lots more going and growing on. Have a browse at www.chelseafringe.com for more. Chelsea Fringe runs until 7 June.