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Once a month we will be posting about garden design events & exhibits that are off the cuff or on the fringe. Also about some natural wonders that have impacted landscapes around the world. Here are our latest finds and some things to look out for. Welcome to the first Gardens Reloaded blog of 2012.

Dirty Money

The world's most expensive broom by Mark Wagner

Cleaning up street art

Reverse Moss Graffiti emerges in Belgium outside the Stuk Arts centre, by Stefaan De Croock. 

Chelsea Fringe May 19th to June 10th


The Chelsea fringe is the brainchild of garden author Tim Richardson. This is a three-week festival around the time of the Chelsea Flower Show which aims to foster installations and events on a garden and plant theme. The Fringe aims to push the boundaries of what is usually considered appropriate in the sphere of gardening, into areas such as eco-activism, art collaborations and spontaneous events.

Tim says “It was during last year’s Chelsea Flower Show that I had one of those “eureka!” moments, when it occurred to me that there is absolutely no reason why the wonderful floral atmosphere of the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual show should be restricted to Chelsea and Kensington.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. My vision for the Chelsea Fringe is for a London-based festival which reaches out to all those who, for one reason or another, do not feel that Chelsea Flower Show is for them.

So the Fringe is not aimed primarily at hard-core flower-show regulars and RHS members; it is for everyone who appreciates the beauty and rich rewards offered by flowers, gardens and gardening. In this way, the hope is that a whole new constituency of garden-lovers will be inspired, entertained and (possibly) educated.

Rather than ape a traditional flower show – with a showground, show gardens, lawnmowers for sale and so on – my idea is for a “viral” festival which permeates many different areas of the city, from the swanky and commercialised West End to more down-to-earth neighbourhoods, where community initiatives may be deemed most appropriate.

The kinds of Chelsea Fringe activities I have in mind are horticultural “happenings” or installations which spring up in unlikely parts of the city, to delight and surprise passers-by.

Moss Cross by Anna Garforth for the Urban Physcic Garden

"There is nothing to be gained from rivalry or antagonism - the Fringe will complement and bolster the main festival, just as the Edinburgh Fringe has for decades. The RHS has accepted the principle of the independent Chelsea Fringe and is fully supportive of it."

click on the Chelsea Fringe logo above to get involved or learn more

Paris gets lungs

Beginning in June 2012, one of the most famous landmark in the world will be decked out in 600,000 plants for up to four years. In this way, this Parisian icon will become a blooming symbol of France’s commitment to the environment.

Besides the artistic value of such a magnificent shawl, this screen of greenery is an important part of France’s new “negative Carbon” project and has been called the “lungs of Paris.”

The 327 meter hanging garden will add 378 tons to the tower.

The making of the green dream

The engineering group Ginger, aided by the Vinci group and the architect Claude Bucher, has spent two years working on this colossal project, which will cost €72 million.

The plan for the hanging garden

The Eiffel Tower plants will grow in burlap pouches. The weighted bags will be suspended by hemp ropes, which will be attached to the metal structure of the Tower. The irrigation system will consist of a network of 12 tons of rubber tubes.

Supplementary gangways will be added to each face of the tower and experts secured by climbing ropes will work day and night on the installation.

Those who are worried about the sparkling lights that illuminate the Tower each night need not worry: the budding greenery won’t get in the way of this magical nightly spectacle. The glittering LED lights admired by tourists since 2002 will be incorporated into rope supports of the plants.

It is expected that the green Eiffel Tower will emit 84.2 tons of CO2 and absorb 87.8 tons, thus creating a positive carbon balance.  This will be thanks to the 600,000 plants added to the 600 trees that already surround the structure.

The plants will be cultivated in nurseries until June 2012. They will then be installed on the Tower between June 2012 and January 2013. The plants will be left to mature for the next few years. The project is scheduled to be dismantled between February and July 2016.

Let’s hope the installation is youtubed!

Energy Fruits

Illuminated Orchard by Caleb Charland in Maine. LED lamps powered by apples! Power harnessed: 10x apples = 1 LED light

Tree Helmets

In a treebute, or tribute, to the natural beauty of their city, two artists from Yogyakarta, Indonesia outfitted scooter riders with safety helmets planted with trees and had them ride around the city en-masse. Passers-by were stunned as they saw trees gliding along on the tops of the cars before the scooter riders were revealed in all their tree-loving glory. The stunt is called Treebute to Yogya and was designed and carried out by Sara Nuytemans & Arya Pandjalu. Video of the tree ride after the jump - Gardens Reloaded on youtube

No more Wilderness

The Altered Landscapes exhibition originally showcased at the Nevada Museum of Art

Pipo Nguyen-duy's 'Lazy Boy'


A comprehensive look at the work of 100 contemporary photographers who capture the impact of human activity on natural landscapes. The Altered Landscape is a provocative collection of photographs representing a wide range of artists, techniques, visual styles, subjects, and ideological positions. Organized chronologically, the more than 150 images-by artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Jordan, Catherine Opie, and Edward Burtynsky-reveal the ways that individuals and industries have marked, mined, toured, tested, developed, occupied, and exploited landscapes over the last fifty years. In Association with the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno 

Amy Stein's 'Howl'

A Very Big message

Nicole Dextra's Giant Words made of ice depict the folly of environmental destruction. Built in vulnerable landscapes and left to the mercy of the environment. 

The one to watch

Bruce Munro has created exhibits at The Eden Project, Cornwall and an LED forest in Bath. Renowned for adventurous sculptural light works and installation, Bruce Munro and his award winning team will pour equal passion into a domestic lighting scheme or a small sculpture you can hold in the palm of your hand.‘A lighting scheme needs craft and consideration. Many elements need to be balanced; the requirements of the client, budget, climate, position, architecture, function, fabrics, furniture and available natural light.’ 'Field of Light' at Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania is coming in 2012.

See them at Gardens Reloaded on youtube

Natural wonder

The Glass Beach. Located in Fort Bragg, CA., on the Mendocino Coast, The Glass Beach is the former town dump. Where once trash abounded, treasures in beautiful pieces of glass, worn gently by the sea into smooth almost gem-stone quality are in profusion - a sea-glass heaven.

Ahhh... so lovely!

Image Source Book: Keetsa, Wired, Olivia Solon, Randomization, Greentecho, Inhabit, Nevad Museum of Art, Dee Zeen, Wunderground, Zimie, Fort Bragg

Serpentine Pavillion Exhibit 2012 - not yet released. Yoko Ono's Smile exhibit in the Gallery sounds quite amazing - check it out here http://www.serpentinegallery.yokoono2012exhibitionannounced