Taking in London’s Chelsea Fringe is a fascinating journey around some unexpected places – how about a pop-up garden, inspired by the impressionist paintings of Monet and Renoir on the Grand Terrace of St. Pancras Station? Not to be missed! Although smaller than might be imagined, (not quite Kew Gardens transported to North London), it was a welcoming green sight in the red brick and metal surrounds of the station.
What started off originally as an idea for a winter wonderland that never quite took off has evolved into a Chelsea Fringe event with the help of some gorgeous plants from Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale and a lot of behind the scenes enthusiasm and drive from marketing specialist Kathleen Molnar. The result is a little oasis of fragrance and tranquillity, filled with heavily scented lavender, jasmine and rosemary set against a painted backdrop of rolling French hillsides – anyone heading for the Eurostar would have no problem getting into the mood!
So relaxing is the space that one woman actually wanted to take her shoes off and walk through it, and it’s interesting to watch the amount of passengers, heads down, hurrying to catch a train who stop and do a double-take before snatching a couple of minutes to savour a little bit of rural France. An olive tree, a miniature row of vines and a couple of comfortable chairs are all that are required for that little bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’.
The statue of poet Sir John Betjeman, who was instrumental in saving St. Pancras from demolition in the 1960’s is just outside this slice of scented green space – and as a man famous for loving stations and the countryside, let’s hope that that this miniature garden would have got his stamp of approval!
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