St George garden opens as part of the Chelsea Fringe


Grenville Johnson in his garden

Grenville Johnson in his garden

While the Chelsea Flower Show is under way in London this week, the Chelsea Fringe Festival has opened in Bristol this week, with a tiny back garden in St George wowing visitors.

The Fringe is independent of the Royal Horticultural Society flower show but runs with its support.

As part of this alternative gardening festival, Grenville Johnson, chair of Kensington Road Residents’ Association and Neighbourhood Watch and also the chair of St George in Bloom, has opened his Victorian House Garden at 28 Kensington Road.

Measuring just 20ft x 18ft, the Italianate themed courtyard garden, complete with a temple folly and moss-covered grotto, has been featured on the BBC Gardeners’ World and The Great British Garden Revival , and was selected by Alan Titchmarsh as one of his 30 Best British Back Gardens in his programme shown on ITV in January.

The garden is open until Bank Holiday Monday. Viewings are from 10am to 3pm each day and the entry fee is £4 for adults, children free. Proceeds will be donated to Kensington Road Residents’ Association to support street environmental enhancement projects and ongoing community work.

All visits and viewings must be pre-booked due to the small size of the garden. Call 0117 9496788 or email

For details of other Bristol and Bath participants in the festival, which runs until 7th June, visit

Since his retirement as a headteacher in Keynsham 10 years ago, Mr Johnson has put gardening at the heart of his community. Five-time winners of the Royal Horticultural Society’s It’s your Neighbourhood competition, the street is now working with Bristol University to introduce bee-friendly zones in the neighbourhood.

st mungo'sHe recently entered an RHS competition for a community street project in which groups were invited to identify a space in need of regeneration.

The application to improve the frontage of Kensington House, left, a hostel for the homeless managed by St Mungo’s in Kensington Road, was successful. The space will be shown at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year, and elements from the show garden with plants will be donated afterwards.