Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Gardening festival returns with flotilla

A SERIES of new events will be featured in the second annual Chelsea Fringe Henley festival, writes David White.

A SERIES of new events will be featured in the second annual Chelsea Fringe Henley festival, writes David White.

The three-week alternative gardening extravaganza will begin next Saturday with a floral flotilla on the River Thames.

At least 15 boats decorated with flowers will congregate at the Mill Meadows moorings at 11am for the flotilla, which will be followed by music and picnicking until 3pm.

New events include two meditative walks through the woods at Greys Court on May 22 and June 8 from 10am to noon.

A flower market featuring British cut flowers and seeds as well as demonstrations will be held in Henley market place on May 28 from 10am to 2pm. This will run alongside the Henley Allotments Association’s market.

The Friends Meeting House in Northfield End, Henley, will be transformed into a silent space on June 10. The event, run by garden writer Liz Ware, will be an opportunity to stroll and admire its hidden garden. Tea and cake will be available.

The festival will finish with three events on Saturday, June 11.

An open garden and plant sale will be held at Babylon Nurseries in Cuxham from 10am to 4pm.

The Korros Ensemble will perform a “cushion concert” in the meadow garden from 5pm to 6pm. There will be floral cocktails, tea and cake. Tickets cost £10 and children go free.

Free talks and demonstrations on how to use fruit and vegetables in cooking will be held during a “pot to pan” event at Phyllis Court Club, Henley, from 11am to noon.

Victoria Newton, who founded Chelsea Fringe Henley with Jane Macfarlane Duckworth, said: “This year the town council, and particularly Henley in Bloom, have really got behind us.

“That’s what the fringe is about — getting community involvement and raising the profile of places.”

Mrs Newton, who lives in Stoke Row Road, Peppard Common, and works at the Garden Museum in London, said the festival offered “something for everybody”.

“Even those who don’t yet realise that they are interested in gardens, flowers or horticulture,” she said.

“We hope the fringe and the variety of events will continue to grow.”

Chelsea Fringe, which runs alongside the Chelsea Flower Show, is endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society and promotes an inclusive approach to flowers, gardens and gardening.

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