(In which the Shoreditch Sisters WI yarnbomb Diarmuid Gavin's Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, get involved with the Chelsea Fringe and meet some of London's urban gardeners)
This post was first published on the Shoreditch Sisters' blog but so proud of the Sisters' knitting efforts (of which I must confess I was not a part, I only helped stitch it together) and inspired by the possibilities of gardening in an urban environment, that I thought I would re-post here for you all to read.
Diarmiud Gavin came to talk to us about his plans for the Chelsea Flower Show back in December 2011 when the days were short and the trees were bare. It sounded fantastical, a towering garden, a pyramid of scaffolding dripping with greenery, inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At the end of May we were rewarded with the vision made real, the Westland Magical Garden, a 24 metre high, 7 terraced garden, a showcase of how it might be possible to garden in small urban spaces by making use of the vertical. The Shoreditch Sisters and friends had been knitting in earnest for weeks in preparation for the yarnbombing of level 6 (at Diarmuid's request!), and over the course of the weekend before opening day stitched length after length of knitting together to encase the scaffolding and add a flash of colour to all the green (check out the video for some of this in action).
We also got involved with the Chelsea Fringe, a festival in its first year which aims to celebrate London gardens in all their forms, helping with the construction of the Oranges and Lemons Garden at St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch and hosting the start of our May meeting there in the beautiful evening sunshine. Back in Concrete, the second part of our May meeting continued with a book reading by the very lovely Helen Babbs from her book My Garden, The City and Me, even more wonderful when read aloud by her than it was when I read it myself for the first time, if that is possible. We finished with a talk from Richard Reynolds, of Guerilla Gardening fame, both amusing and fascinating in equal measure. I left with signed copies of both Helen and Richard's books, longing for a bit of outdoor space of my own, but determined to get involved with the London Guerilla Gardening scene in the absence of it.