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I love an edible window box. Gorgeous to look at, with tasty bites.

These delicate violas are from viola specialist Wildegoose Nursery  (Viola cornuta ‘Winona Cawthorne’ I think) and as well as being edible, they have a delicious honey scent. And planted alongside are some wonderfully textured mustard leaves. Red Frills, Golden Streaks, Green in Snow and Giant Red are all in the mix. Dead-heading keeps the violas constantly flowering, although I might have to replace some of the mustard leaves soonish, which are just about going to seed.

And talking about edibles,  I went to see the new Tord Boontje’s ‘Dawn to Dusk’ swivelling chairs on the Thames at the weekend as part of the Chelsea Fringe. They’re right next to Vauxhall Bridge, so easy to get to (Vauxhall tube is the nearest).

They’re handsome benches (modelled here by the gorgeous Gianna),

beautifully planted up with drought tolerant plants which look great against the rusted steel.

I particularly liked the Tulbaghia violcea (aka Society Garlic), a stunner of a plant of which both stems and flowers are edible, with quite a garlicy kick. Which almost makes this an edible chair?

Now here’s the turning bit. Below, there’s me giving you a twirl with the London Eye behind.

And here’s the very accommodating Andrew and his parents who let me film them while they were out Chelsea Fringing too. All great fun!

Hurrah! It’s the Chelsea Fringe again. This year it’s running from Sat 20th May until Sunday 4th June. There are tons of great events to see/ take part in, all over London and much further afield (Essex, Cirencester, Hastings, Henley, Poland, Italy and Japan!). If you haven’t heard of the Chelsea Fringe before, it’s a quirky horticultural festival, wrapping itself around the Chelsea Flower Show dates, with loads of pop-up events, horticultural happenings and art installations to visit-mostly for free!

I’m kicking off the weekend by heading west to Paddington to see ‘London’s first floating pocket garden’ (above). (Oops, delayed opening. Now open from May 26th.)

I love it that the Fringe takes me to areas I don’t normally explore in the capital, and while out of my manor, I thought I’d have a look at Tord Boontje’s ‘Dawn to Dusk’ rotating chairs on the Thames (next to St. George’s Wharf in SW8), take in an artist led tour at Battersea Power Station (it’s free, but you need to book to join this) and then top it off by heading down to Vegetable Avenue (SW8), to learn how make my own veg-strument. I can then join in the celebratory musical performance along Thessaly Road with London’s Vegetable Orchestra. What a day!

From Battersea to Brixton to Broadgate (in the City), from Bamboo Gardens to the Bloomin’ Jewels exhibition (at Contemporary Applied Arts in Southwark), you’re spoilt for choice.

You also get the chance to visit Wendy Shillam’s wonderful rooftop garden this Saturday 2oth May (near Oxford Circus) and she’ll be holding great day courses on how to grow veg in just 6 inches of soil, with great nutritional tips, on Sunday 21st May and Sunday 4th June (you’ll need to book these).

In past years, visiting Chelsea Fringe events has always been a treat and I can’t wait to see more happenings this year. Here’s a list of the first week’s events,

And there’s plenty more going on until the 4th June (Inner Temple Dog Show above, taking place on Sunday 21st May). Enjoy!

P.S. If you want to join Michelle’s virtual Chelsea Fringe project, you can Tweet a pic of your own garden (or join in via Facebook, Instagram or a blog) with the hashtag #mygardenrightnow

Couldn’t help sharing this wonderful Ferula communis (ornamental Fennel), given to me by Siew Lee Vorley from Great Dixter.  It’s looking wilder every day!

I’ve been itching to write about Cardamine pentaphylla ever since I bought it at the Great Dixter Plant Fair some weeks ago (on the Beth Chatto stand).

Now I’ve waxed lyrical a couple of times before about Cardamine quinquefolia (above, and you can also see its leaves on the top left hand corner of the first pic). This Cardamine is much smaller and when discussing my gorgeous new find with Kathleen from the nursery at Great Dixter, she described it as C. quiquefolia on steroids. She’s not wrong there. Comparatively, it’s a whopper.

I love growing C. quinquefolia as its delicate lilac flowers are such a welcome sight in February and March, when many other perennials are still underground and my garden can look a tad bare. And then the leaves completely vanish over summer as if it had never been there. In fact, it’s a great spreader and now grows through a large fern. I cut back the old fern leaves in February, C. quinquefolia does it’s thing, then disappears as the fern starts to unfurl. Perfect.

I was recently over in Belfast, and just outside the city is the wonderful Ballyrobert Gardens and nursery . (The website is impressive too, giving great information on the many tempting plants they sell.) In the gardens, I spotted Cardime heptaphylla ‘Big White’ (similar in stature to C. pentaphylla), lighting up the borders where it grew and couldn’t resist. I think it will look rather gorgeous amongst some Leucojum aestivum next year.

And when I was searching for Cardamines on the Beth Chatto website, I realised that they had a few more species to try out: Caramine glanduligera, pratensis ‘Flore Pleno’ and Cardamine trifolia. More pink and white blooms to enliven the garden in early spring. Hurrah!

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