This is the big week; the week that we’ve been working towards since February. This is the week that we open for the Chelsea Fringe. We chose to show for three afternoons, Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June from 1.00 – 6.00pm.
Mike spent all weekend clearing the potting shed. My rooftopvegplot is unusual in that you have to walk through the potting shed to get into the garden. So old canes where cleared out, pots were stacked and tools polished. I’ve primped and pruned the plot so that there won’t be a lettuce leaf out of place by Thursday.
Allowing people into the veg plot is rather different to opening a flower garden. It feels as personal as if I’m revealing my underwear drawer to the public. It’s an important part of our lives, it is there to be beautiful, but utility has to win sometimes. Will people understand that? Will they forgive that gap, which was yesterday’s lunch?
All this soul searching is of course far too late. The garden does look good, even though I say so myself. And we haven’t sacrificed eating for show. Though I have to admit, that I’ve held off harvesting the broad beans, which are just on the point of becoming succulent fat pods.
Chelsea Fringe have been amazing. It is all run by a dedicated and voluntary team. We have to pay a modest fee to enter, but nothing like the real costs. Today I realised that the fringe website wasn’t working. You could not access the details of our event! Frantic phone calls can’t be made – they have no telephone. So I had to send off an email and hope that someone would read it at the other end. Thankfully they were reading their mail and the glitch was repaired within minutes. Bravo! Chelsea Fringe. But these last minute moments of anxiety do nothing for the heart rate.
On Wednesday the 4th June, I’m booked in to speak on the Robert Elms show on BBC London at lunchtime. (Do listen!) We have already had a number of journalists beating a path to our door. And there have been a few surprise spin-offs, like the lingerie shoot the other day! I need to keep reminding myself why I did it. I wanted to tell people how you can grow veg in central London and encourage more rooftop gardens. I care about the urban environment and wanted to show that it could be productively greened.
I have no idea whether we will be inundated with visitors, or whether no-one will visit us over the next three days. Is this the calm before the storm, or will all that preparation actually be a storm before the calm? I don’t mind either way. At least we got to tidy the potting shed and we shall still have this delightful garden to ourselves on the other 362 days of the year.