There is the Chelsea Flower Show, the grand old lady of flower shows and this year there is the Chelsea Fringe. It's a spunky little upstart that is flowering all over London with quirky horticultural happenings. With walking tours, mini-gardens in beer cans, wheel barrow gardens,edible bus stops and floating gardens, it is hard to know where to start.The Docks, a canal side enterprise by famed London designer Tom Dixon, is holding a three week extravaganza. Floating Forest is made of 450 slices of tree trunks in the still waters of the canal outside the restaurant. Created by a Quebecois landscape company, it is meant to evoke Quebec's river history in the 19th century when logs of enormous white pine trees were floated down the rivers to be sent to England to be used as beams and flooring in industrial buildings.
From the super slick to the delightfully funky, that's the beauty of the Fringe. The Garden of Disorientation is an architect's delight. Created in an old and abandoned meat factory, it's a mint garden planted in pallets. There is a sweet-smelling jasmine green wall made of recycled plastic bottles.
They are serving mint mojitos, best sipped at rest on good looking galvanised steel tables and benches. A delight.
The front of St Leonard's Church – renowned for being the place where the nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" originated, has been transformed into an orchard of citrus fruit, bay and olive trees, where passers-by can sink into yellow and orange (of course) deckchairs and drink freshly squeezed lemonade. It was created with local volunteer groups and a new garden designer who is making his mark with this cheap and cheerful confection.
Adelaide Community Gardens Club is a community allotment of about 40 plots. Members grow vegetables and flowers organically and there are bee hives.
That's the beauty of the Fringe: instead of gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show that cost millions of dollars for a week's worth of enjoyment, these people are working together to make something wonderful that's done on a shoestring with wit and love.