The winners of the Henley Youth Festival/Henley Standard young reporter
THE Chelsea Fringe Henley festival is the people’s version of the Chelsea Flower Show and
THE Chelsea Fringe Henley festival is the people’s version of the Chelsea Flower Show and brings together people who love gardening and want to be really creative. It’s a garden festival and anyone can enter a project. There are talks, events and walks.
I have interviewed two local businesswomen who are doing amazing events for the Chelsea Fringe. Here is my interview with Tamsin Borlase and Jo Wise.
What is your business and why did you start it?
Jo: I run Floral Circus, which is a creative floristry business with a focus on using British–grown garden flowers. I started it because it brings together artistry and nature and I love the theatre of flowers.
Tamsin: I run a market garden and I grow vegetables, fruit and flowers for local families and two restaurants, the Golden Ball in Assendon and Shaun Dickens at the Boathouse in Henley.
I believe that people should eat locally and that more people should start growing for their local market.
Why are you so passionate about British–grown flowers?
Jo: Flowers make people happy. They feed our soul. For me, no flower has more soul than a happy one that’s come out of the ground.
Most of the flowers bought in the UK are imported from all over the world and for a nation of garden lovers that seems a shame to me.
Tamsin: Most flowers that are sold in the UK have been flown over here and they are soaked in chemicals. This is not ideal. My aim is to grow flowers in season that are totally natural and not sprayed with any chemicals. We can grow an array of interesting beautiful flowers in England and it is wonderful to enjoy locally grown flowers.
Why did you want to get involved with the Chelsea Fringe?
Jo: Chelsea Fringe appeals to me hugely. It’s inclusive, alternative and, above all, fun! There will be a host of horticultural events happening all over the Henley area, so hopefully something for everyone. I’m really excited about the floral flotilla on May 16.
Tamsin: I liked the idea that it is more inclusive, involving the community. Also I think it is a great way to encourage everyone to grow things. There are big and small scales of growing.
What will your event be at the Chelsea Fringe?
Jo: I am hosting an evening event of floral couture and fresh flower cocktails. Floral couture means clothes made from fresh flowers. My plan is to make a dress out of flowers inspired by a painting by Matisse.
I want to push the boundaries of floristry and show garden flowers don’t have to be “cottagey” and that they can be sophisticated, stylish, theatrical and dynamic too.
Tamsin: A community open day. There will be Matisse–inspired floral art that children will make. Jaargo, a local web design company, are the sponsors and will be making the frame for it. Children will go and find flowers and then create wonderful pieces of floral art. I don’t want to give much away so come and see it on June 6. Entry is £2 per person.
Well, these two events sound fantastic and I will definitely be going. It will be a great chance to learn more about flowers and see interesting art.