One of the great things about the Chelsea Flower Show is that you don’t need to go to the actual event to benefit from it. It spawns all kinds of spin-offs and celebrations, such as the Chelsea Fringe: the Alternative Garden Festival, which is a huge, sprawling series of events at gardens and allotments all over London and beyond, from 18th May to the 9th June. It’s definitely worth checking out the Chelsea Fringe website to see what’s going on near you, but the bit we are earmarking in our diaries is the Brompton Design District’s own mini garden festival: Brompton’s Chelsea Fringe, which runs over three days between 23rd and 25th May in the shops, restaurants and institutions around Brompton and Exhibition Roads.
Some of the highlights include: chef Skye Gyngell’s talk on the importance of growing food at The Conran Shop on 23rd May at 7pm. There’s lots going on at The Conran Shop in fact, including an exhibition by the renowned still life photographer Tessa Traeger, and a book signing session on the 25th May by Shane Connolly (who did all the flowers for Prince William and Kate Middleton Royal Wedding). The window displays should be good too. Down the road, at 60 Sloane Avenue, Jonathan Adler and Clifton Nurseries are joining forces to demonstrate just how fab houseplants can look when paired with the right pottery. On North Terrace, there will be a pop up garden by the Balcony Gardener in the Squint courtyard, and an exhibition at Mint called ‘When Things Bloom’. And on Brompton Road, Skandium have commissioned a flower display by Scandinavian florist Flor Unikon (they are selling Fiskars garden tools too, which we hear are great). But as well as all these and lots of other specific events, the whole area will be putting its best foot forward with horticulturally themed window displays, flowers, planters and containers, so it will be a lovely time to wander round and enjoy SW3.