The Idler Academy

Westbourne Park

There isn’t a plant, let alone a garden, in this pic, but rest assured that come 21st May, the Idler Academy will have a generous coating of chlorophyll. It’s going to be transformed for the Chelsea Fringe, the hotly anticipated gardening festival that will coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show. Around 80 gardens/events/happenings are planned all over London.

I’m one of the fringe co-ordinators, which means I have to oversee a couple of the gardens and check how they’re coming along. This is one of them, and I’m really chuffed to be involved. The Idler Academy is a cafe, bookshop and centre of learning (a group of young people were doing their Latin homework when I visited). Its proprietor, Tom Hodgkinson, also edits The Idler and wrote one of my favourite books, How to be Free.

At the back of the cafe is a tiny garden, and I met up with Tom, top garden design graduate Angela Newman and her former tutor Annie Guilfoyle on a January day to discuss how to transform it into a ‘Grove of Idleness’. I won’t give too much away, but lots of ambitious ideas were bandied around and it’s all very exciting. I’ll bring you pics of the finished garden in May.

4 thoughts on “The Idler Academy”

  1. How very exciting! Our community project is also taking part in the Chelsea Fringe, but can’t wait to see all the other pop up gardens and events that will be created during this period. Hats off to Tim Richardson for bringing all these ideas and people together!

  2. I hope the redesign of the Idler courtyard doesn’t include ripping out the established climbers – I’ll wait till May to see.


Leave a comment