Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Alexandra Park.

Alexandra Park.

Alexandra Park hosts Mini Chelsea Fringe

A new gardening festival makes its debut in Hastings this weekend when the Mini Chelsea Fringe – the alternative garden festival – is held in Alexandra Park on Sunday. Also part of the event is a talk on parks on Friday evening. Nick Terdre reports, photos by Colin Foy.

Travis Elborough.

Travis Elborough.

The talk on parks will be given by Travis Elborough, author of A Walk in the Park, about the history of Britain’s parks. This is a paid event at the Beacon – see details below.

On Sunday the action switches to Alexandra Park where between 11am and 4.30pm there will be sales of plants and produce by local gardening groups and nurseries, a guided tour of the park, music, cream teas from Eat@The Park Cafe, and rides on the park’s miniature train. The stalls will be set up in two marquees located by the bandstand.

The festival is hosted by Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group, which will be selling donated plants to raised funds for its project to restore the park’s greenhouse and make it available as a community amenity.

Cormorant in the park.

Cormorant in the park.

At 2pm park ranger Nick Hennessey will lead a talk-and-walk about the park’s history and how it has developed. When this is over, at about 2.30pm, there will be music at the bandstand, courtesy of local folk and blues group the Wobblies.

Behind the stalls

As well as the greenhouse group, there will be an opportunity to meet like-minded groups including Friends of Alexandra Park and the Bohemia Walled Garden Association. Staffing the plant and produce stalls will be folk from the Rotherview Nursery, Three Oaks, who won a gold award at the Chelsea Flower show last year, Simply Gardens, of Hastings Old Town, and the Ivy House Nursery off the Ridge.

Ivy House was set up in 1975 by nurseryman Brian Adams, who will be selling bedding plants and perennials aided by his assistant Dina Tolton.

Sam Adams and Tina Dolton of ivy House Nursery.

Brian Adams and Dina Tolton of Ivy House Nursery.

“I shall be selling my plants and giving advice at the festival,” said Mr Adams, 79. “I have been working with flowers since the age of eight and I’m largely self-taught. We grow all our stock from cuttings and seeds and, that way, we keep the prices down. We try to grow plants that other nurseries do not have.”

Mr Adams is campaigning to get an ancient oak tree on his land – the Great Hastings Oak, which he believes to be at least 250 years old – protected, and aims to enter it for the England and European Oak of the Year 2018 contests, which recognise trees as part of our natural and cultural heritage.


logo 5A Walk in the Park Talk on Britain’s parks by author Travis Elborough. Friday 26 May, 7pm, the Beacon Arts Hub, 67-68 St Mary’s Terrace, Hastings TN34 3LS. Tickets £15, including a light supper, available from 01424 431305 or from

Mini Chelsea Fringe in Alexandra Park Sunday 28 May, 11am-4.30pm, various activities, near the grandstand. Free event.

More information on Ivy House Nursery from 07710 998817.



Posted 16:15 Wednesday, May 24, 2017 In: Grassroots

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