RESIDENTS are being urged to get involved in the opening event of a three-week festival in Henley celebrating gardening.
A floral flotilla will take place on Saturday, May 16 to mark the start of Chelsea Fringe Henley, an alternative garden festival that promotes an inclusive approach to flowers, gardens and gardening.
The flotilla will gather at 11am at the Mill Meadows moorings, then sail up river to Marsh Lock then back down to Temple Island before returning to Mill Meadows.
Other events include a week-long floral art exhibition at the Old Fire Station Gallery, starting on Monday, May 18.
A community horticulture day, which will include a plant sale, will be held in Henley market place on Saturday, May 30.
This is being organised by Henley in Bloom and the Henley Allotments Association and will feature live music and stalls.
An open garden and plant sale will be held at Babylon Plants in Cuxham on Sunday, May 24.
Organisers are considering asking the London Vegetable Orchestra to perform. Other ideas include an edible atlas and a tombola.
Garden writer Liz Ware will host a healing garden with qualified healers and healing plants at the Friends Meeting House in Northfield End, Henley, on May 20 from 2pm to 4pm.
There will be a floral art installation at the bandstand in Mill Meadows organised by florists Jo Wise, who runs the Floral Circus, a studio at Oakley Wood Farm, near Benson, and Juliet Bennett, of Babylon Flowers, Cuxham. Mrs Wise said it was likely to be a suspended floral ceiling using foliage and fresh flowers.
It is hoped this will be accompanied by flowers made by children to hang among the foliage. A competition will be launched with schools for children to design the flowers.
There will also be an open studio at the Floral Circus.
The festival will end on June 6 at Bosley Patch, a family run market garden at Swiss Farm in Henley with an open garden event hosted by Tamsin Borlase.
The ticketed event will feature food, walks around the garden and growing demonstrations.
Festival co-ordinators Jane Macfarlane-Duckworth, a florist from Hambleden, and gardener Victoria Newton, of Stoke Row Road, Peppard Common, are appealing for more people to come forward with boats for florists to decorate for the flotilla. At the end of March people will be encouraged to formally register to take part in the flotilla.
The co-ordinators also hope to attract a local celebrity with a horticultural background to join the event.
The festival, which is endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society, will coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show.
Each year, Chelsea Fringe holds events in London but satellite festivals have been held in Brighton, Bristol and Kent.
For more information, call Ms Macfarlane-Duckworth on 07725 040733 or (01491) 575603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or Mrs Newton on 07780 607738 or (01491) 629636 or email email@example.com
More information will be available at www.facebook.com/chelseafringehenley
and @ChelseaFringeHn on twitter.