That's it then. The third week in May has arrived, the Chelsea Fringe starts and the real excitement of Chelsea week begins! One of the many new gardening programmes on TV this year has contributed to whetting our appetites: The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge provided some aspiring garden designers with the chance to get to Chelsea as they rushed to build their garden projects. We noticed these gardens reflected the continuing trend to include wild flowers in planting designs, build urban retreats, and to tell a story about the botanical properties of the plants included. Chelsea has a number of gardens such as The Haven, Home: A Personal Universe, and Urban Retreat, linking cottage garden wild plants, with learning families and the fashioning of urban calm.
We couldn't help noticing references to gardening clothes weaving through our prelude to Chelsea. There was an impressive array of old and not so old gardening clothes worn by the contestants in the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge, including Rob’s flapping and James’s neat knee pads and Gillian’s not-so water proofs.
The Chelsea Fringe this years carries forward the same kinds of flavours. It too celebrates wild plants as medicine and food with events such as Grow Wild and Phytology demonstrating 100 ways to plant wild flowers in a garden using formal and informal containers or Edible Bankside; and making the link between gardening, textiles, knitting and dresses made from fresh foliage – the ultimate in gardening clothes you might say!
Bring it on! We can’t wait for the Chelsea gates to open.
The Genus team was recently busy at the Kew Plant Finders Fair. One of the ways we engaged with customers was to ask them more about what they wore when they were gardening. Most people answered that they wore their old clothes. However, we were a little taken aback when somebody said, in all seriousness, that they didn’t wear any gardening clothes at all! Their preferred state was to garden naked!
Well, far from being alone, it turns out there are books about gardening nude, and there is a whole community of naked gardeners, and it’s even a form of gardening that is increasing in popularity. The first Saturday in May is celebrated as “World Naked Gardening Day”’ whatever the weather (which promises to be a little chilly this year ….. Brrrr).
It turns out that there is even a naked gardening venue close to Genus HQ: Just down the road is Abbey House Garden in Malmesbury which has a programme of “Clothes Optional Days” for those who wish to visit the gardens in the buff. Mmmm ….. not sure if we are quite ready to give up our gardening clothes just yet!