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Urban gardens in vogue at first ever Grow London gardening fair on Hampstead Heath

Ellen Austin, a textile designer who lives in Gospel Oak, on the stand that she shared with her mother Claire Austin, the celebrated horticulturist. Picture: Nigel Sutton Ellen Austin, a textile designer who lives in Gospel Oak, on the stand that she shared with her mother Claire Austin, the celebrated horticulturist. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
11:02 AM

Hundreds of budding urban gardeners flocked to the launch of a new three-day fair in Hampstead Heath this weekend.

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Local transition groups at Grow London. Picture: Nigel SuttonLocal transition groups at Grow London. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The new GROW London Contemporary Garden Fair held a preview party on Thursday in a white marquee on East Heath Road in Hampstead, ahead of the busy show which ran from Friday to Sunday.

The variety of pieces on show in the 5,000 square meter marquee was vast - as colourful pots of flowers burst into bloom alongside hand-woven baskets and sleek garden furniture.

The show had more than 100 exhibitors and talks from speakers such as landscape designer Chris Beardshaw, award winning garden writer Val Bourne and gardening expert Dawn Isaac.

The guests milling around also enjoyed a selection of drinks as they planned how to transform their gardens.

Crouch End willow sculptor Julia Clarke. Picture: Nigel SuttonCrouch End willow sculptor Julia Clarke. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The brainchild of Will Ramsay, founder of the hugely successful Affordable Art Fair and industry expert Thérèse Lang of TJM Associates, the fair was aimed at “urban gardeners” who are passionate nurturing their own outdoor spaces - whether it be a humble pot of herbs on a windowsill or a piece of sculpture to jazz up their gardens.

And the pieces were not restricted to the great outdoors.

Crouch End resident Julia Clarke, 44, who had a stall of beautiful abstract sculptures, said: “I see my work not in a wood or a garden, but on a deck, or a bit of slate – something sharper and more contemporary.”

Judy Green, a Hampstead Garden Suburb resident, exhibited pieces from her store Judy Green’s Garden Store in Flask Walk, Hampstead.

Judy Green, who runs a garden shop in Flask Walk, on her stand with Lorraine Wilder. Picture: Nigel SuttonJudy Green, who runs a garden shop in Flask Walk, on her stand with Lorraine Wilder. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Having opened 19 years ago, she said: “We bring the garden inside. We spend a lot of time finding the perfect plant for the perfect pot – little things like that can make it or break it!”

Some exhibitors even made the show a family affair.

Hampstead resident, Ellen Mae Calvert, 29, proudly displayed her new label Mae, a selection of floral scarves and deckchairs, alongside her horticulturist mother Claire Austin’s pots of perennials and peonies.

“I’ve grown up around gardening my whole life,” Ellen said. “The scarves were all inspired by my mother’s garden.”

Founder Mr Ramsay, 49, who was overjoyed with the turnout, described the feel of the show as “fresh, contemporary, new and just a little bit different.”

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