ISSUE 24  |  Scandi Midsummer

GROW London: A New Contemporary Garden Fair on Hampstead Heath

June 19, 2014 1:30 PM

BY Kendra Wilson

A new kind of garden event is coming to town this week. It’s called GROW London, The Contemporary Garden Fair, and it’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Yes, the Chelsea Flower Show just finished and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is coming up. (Royal Horticultural Society, you spoil us.) But GROW London is different. Here’s how:

What is GROW London?
This brand-new event, billed as a contemporary garden fair, takes place over three days on Hampstead Heath, June 20-22. Chic and modern, it comes hot on the heels of the Affordable Art Fair (June 12–15). Both have the same founder, Will Ramsay, who is joined at GROW London by Thérí¨se Lang, the creative brain behind the late, great Cottesbrooke Hall Plant Finders Fair.

A contemporary garden fair–does that mean no baskets?
GROW London will showcase streamlined designs such as copper and zinc containers from Bronzino (above) and stylish furniture from Barbed for Fermob (see the chrome-yellow table and bench, below). And yes, there will be baskets, as well as traditional tools, but there will also be a strong urban slant. The setting is a very green part of London, with large family gardens. 

But there will be plants?
The organizers of GROW have a reputation for seeking out the best. About 20 specialist nurseries will be on hand, with plenty of plants to choose among. Glendon Plant Nursery, based near me in Northamptonshire, is a small but unerring source. Their poppy ‘Aglaia’ (above) has a cameo role in my own garden. Crí»g Farm Plants, a regular at the Chelsea Flower Show’s Great Pavilion, will also be there for the more unusual and outsized.

What if it rains?
GROW London has the edge on the traditional village show: It’s being held under cover. In fact, the space will be transformed by renowned flower decorator Shane Connolly (above, at Windsor Castle), the royal wedding favorite who brought field maples into Westminster Abbey for the marriage of Prince William and Kate.

Besides a Champagne bar, expect an impressive list of speakers, including free presentations by Steve Benbow, the London Honey Man, and Gardenista’s own Christine Chang Hanway, with an update on the latest garden trends (look for Christine on Friday, June 20, at 2:30 pm). The Society of Garden Designers will offer free 20-minute consultations for those seeking design advice (sign up early, and bring photos).

Ideas to take home:
GROW London is all about the takeaway. Even if you don’t order a new pergola from Italy via Uno Pií¹ (whose handsome outdoor furniture is shown at the top of this page) or buy some unfeasibly attractive orange rubber slip-ons from Mouillií¨re (above), you won’t leave the show with an empty notebook, mind, or shopping bag.

Location and tickets:
GROW London takes place on Hampstead Heath on the Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road, London NW3 1TH. The nearest stops by public transport are Hampstead on the London Underground and Hampstead Heath by overland train. See GROW London for more information.

Tickets are £10 in advance and £16 at the door. Since Gardenista is one of the sponsors, our readers will receive a 50 percent discount when they book online and use the discount code GROWGARDENISTA.

For more on Shane Connolly, florist to the Royals, see Ask the Expert: 10 Tips for Wedding Flowers From Kate Middleton’s Florist. And we’ve got the London Honey Man covered here: The Bees of Buckingham Palace.