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Didn’t manage to get a ticket to the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show? Not to worry, there’s a whole host of floral-themed events happening in London during May for everyone to enjoy. Some take place solely during the flower show itself (21-25 May), whilst others are timed to coincide with the Chelsea Fringe (18 May-9 June), and aims to spread the horticultural enthusiasm throughout London. Some of our favourites are below, but you can also visit the Chelsea Fringe website for lots more ideas.
The Belgraves Edible Garden
Between 21 and 25 May the Belgraves hotel, located in Knightsbridge, is transforming its terrace into an Edible Garden that features a wall of edible flowers and an interactive cocktail station. Not only will there be cocktail classes and ‘food and flower pairing’ tutorials, but guests can also take away seed packets so they can enjoy the same tastes at home. Those staying in the hotel can opt for the full Bed, Brunch and Botany’experience, which features delights such as brunch in bed, an edible flower recipe book and complimentary cocktails.
Chelsea in Bloom
For eight years Chelsea in Bloom has been extending the wonders of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show throughout the entire borough by encouraging local retailers to create their own floral displays. These creations, this year themed on ‘decades’ to mark the centenary of the prestigious flower show, are assessed for prize-worthiness by official RHS judges and can be viewed between 20 and 25 May. To see them all, join the regular tours, which take place every half hour.
A Guide to Green Scents at the Athenaeum Hotel
Not only is this 5 star hotel on Piccadilly offering a menu of delicious floral cocktails for the duration of the Chelsea Fringe, but it is also hosting ‘a guide to green scents’ on 21 May. This evening event is inspired by the hotel’s landmark Living Wall (right), and features a talk by perfume specialist Lila Das Gupta on perfumes that capture the fragrance of nature, plus a guide to the scented flowers that are grown on the Athenaeum’s wall. Tickets for the talk cost £15 per person and include the talk, canapés and a cocktail. Send an email to reserve your place.
Chelsea Flower Show Menu at LIMA
For the duration of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show LIMA, the Peruvian restaurant in Bloomsbury, is putting on a celebratory menu that puts a flowery twist on their national cuisine. Dishes include orange and pisco poached lobster salad and steamed fillet of halibut with rhubarb blue potato aji Amarillo. Guests can either opt for a three course menu which includes a Chelsea Cocktail of melon and pink Champagne (£60) or order from the a la carte. The menu is available from the 20 to 26 May.
Floral Afternoon Teas
Given the traditional nature of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it’s no wonder that many venues are serving special afternoon teas during the week to celebrate. Radission Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt, for example, is serving a Floral Afternoon Tea throughout May that includes rose fruit jellies and orange blossom and lavender scones (£29.50). Nearby, the Royal Garden Hotel offers elderflower posset, jasmine opera and rose marshmallow as part of its celebratory Afternoon Tea during Chelsea week, which is accompanied by tunes from the resident pianist (£24). Further east, The Dorchester has worked with the team behind Laurent-Perrier’s 2013 show garden to create a menu that includes delights such as a ‘lavender basket’; a dark chocolate tartlet infused with lavender scent and decorated with a spun sugar handle. This afternoon tea menu is available between 20 and 26 May for £56.
Floral Facials and Cocktails
The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is offering a range of excellent floral indulgence options; why not follow one of their new Rose Facials (£65) with a Chelsea Flower Show-themed cocktail in the hotel’s Rib Room Bar? Guests can choose between rose, camomile and elderflower martinis – yum!
The Avant Garden in Covent Garden
Head to the Covent Garden piazza to see Crabtree & Evelyn’s twist on the classic British herb garden. Created by garden designer and rising star Emma Coleman, ‘The Avant Garden’ will be a tranquil urban oasis that promises to be a highlight of the 2013 Chelsea Fringe Festival from 14 May to 9 June.
Floral Cocktails at Barts, South Kensington
Popular speakeasy Barts, situated close to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, is offering a special cocktail in honour of the event. ‘The Chelsea Flower’ is a mix of home-made lavender-infused Grey Goose Vodka, peach liquor and jasmine essence, garnished with a molecular raviolo of lavender. Furthermore, guests can really get into the spirit of the occasion by availing themselves of the bar’s dressing-up box, which will feature a range of floral-themed items during the show week.
Floristry classes and lunch at Tom Aikens, Chelsea
Learn the delicate art of floristry at the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens restaurant in Chelsea, where you can create a stunning arrangement of freshly-cut blooms to take home, before tucking into a delicious three course lunch that contains edible flowers. The package also includes coffee and pastries and a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne. Classes run throughout the RHS Chelsea Flower Show week, as well as on selected other May dates, and cost £120.
Chelsea Fringe at Battersea Power Station
This free event takes place between 17 to 19 May and 21 to 26 May, and allows visitors to enjoy a variety of entertainment and activities in the newly-opened temporary riverside park at Battersea Power Station. The focus of the fringe hub at Battersea will be installations, including one that features 35 people planted knee-deep in soil to promote conversations on sustainability. See the website for opening times and full details.