Seeds of Ideas Being Planted for This Year’s Chelsea Fringe

Some great seeds of  ideas were discussed this week at the launch meeting for this year’s Chelsea Fringe in Henley event which is taking place between 18-26 May.

Chelsea Fringe is an alternative garden festival celebrating community growing initiatives, outdoor performance, botanical art, walks, talks and events. It is completely independent from the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower show but operates parallel and with their blessing.

It is the fifth year of the Chelsea Fringe in Henley.

This year for the first time the festival will have a hub at the Old Fire Station Gallery between 22-29 May where there will be floristry workshops, talks and school events. Victoria Newton, co founder of the Chelsea Fringe in Henley said, “It will be great to have a focal point and a space for people to come and host an event at the gallery if they want to do something for the first time. We’re open to any ideas.”

The River & Rowing Museum will be opening Ratty’s Refuge garden especially on 18, 19, 25 and 26 May which was a Chelsea bronze medal winning garden.  The museum will be offering 2 for 1 admission and 10% off in the cafe if you mention Chelsea Fringe.

The wonderful floral flotilla will be returning on Sunday 26 May starting from Mill Meadows. All boat owners whether motorised or man-powered are encouraged to join in. Help can be offered with decoration and Henley Town Council have offered free moorings for the afternoon.

The Friends Meeting House will be opening their peaceful secret garden again on Sunday 19 May (2-5pm) and will be serving tea and cake.

Henley in Bloom members Catherine Notaras, Tuc Ahmed and Chair David Eggleton talked about ideas for a family wildlife conservation event at the community orchard off Paradise Road.

Other ideas discussed included a spiritual gong event on Marsh Meadows near the circle of wellbeing trees, a talk from a well known architect Professor from Reading University about the proposed project of an outdoor classroom at Badgemore School, chainsaw dead tree stump carving and an open gardens trail on the Gainsborough estate.

Jane McFarlane Duckworth, co founder said “We’re looking forward to this year’s festival and hope that we’ll attract visitors from outside the area too. We’d love some more volunteers to help. Particularly someone who can help with our social media.”

If you would like to run an event, volunteer or enter a boat in the floral flotilla please email For more information, follow the Chelsea Fringe Henley on Facebook, Twitter @chelseafringehn, or find out more via the Chelsea Fringe website.


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