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Flowers Across Manchester: We Love It

Dig the City will turn medieval quarter into a little Eden

Published on June 27th 2012.

Flowers Across Manchester: We Love It

THIS sounds exactly the sort of thing the city needs to do again and again. This is a festival that we can all enjoy, every age, every culture, every interest group. 

The only sadness with Dig the City is that it will be such a short festival, a brief week, a fleeting flash of beauty like a butterfly on a summer day.

So why are we so excited? 

Because Dig The City is a festival of beauty, a Colour-Me-Beautiful blooming in the heart of medieval Manchester. Modern bureaucracies and bean-counters underestimate the power of simply providing beauty. In fact we’ve never heard planners use the word, almost afraid of its emotional pull, it’s pricelessness. 

Dig the City dares us to think beautiful. 

The event will run from 24–29 July and will feature more than ten different areas, including a huge flower festival at Manchester Cathedral and lesser shows in Manchester Arndale, the rebranded Corn Exchange and also in the National Football Museum.  

Public areas including Exchange Square, Cathedral Gardens and the recently pedestrianised Victoria Street will be transformed into a city centre garden.  The majority of it is free. 

Using Victoria Street in this way is at last some form of payback after causing the city inconvenience by closing it. 

Jubilee visit flowersJubilee visit flowers

Manchester Cathedral

Flower festival of over 30,000 flowers depicting themes of music through the ages and the Diamond Jubilee.  This will be the largest flower festival in the North West. To book tickets please click here

Manchester Arndale

Manchester Arndale is helping to introduce children to sustainability and green issues in a gentle and fun way during the Dig the City festival. Worthy, sure, but hopefully not dull. On Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 July, Exchange Court in the Arndale will be transformed into a miniature green haven incorporating artificial grass surrounded by a white picket fence, colourful wheelbarrows brimming over with plants and flowers in bloom plus free workshop areas for children to paint their own plant pot and then to plant their own sunflower seed. 

National Football Museum

A floral carpet will be created on one of the levels of the National Football Museum. 

Corn Exchange

The ground floor atrium of the newly rebranded Corn Exchange will be transformed into a Mad Hatter’s Tea party. 

Cathedral Gardens: Sunflower Corner

As part of the MOSI Turing Sunflower project, and their Manchester Science Week, there’ll be a sunflower corner - click here. This will feature planters full of sunflowers, and scientists on hand to teach people about the project. 

Cathedral Gardens: Jubilee Square

Manchester City Council’s impressive Jubilee Garden created for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visit to Manchester will be rebuilt in Cathedral Gardens. 

Cathedral Gardens: Community Avenue

Gardens from Manchester communities will be on display in planters in Cathedral Gardens. Manchester City Council, who are delivering this, and local volunteers who built these will be on site to talk to the general public.  

Fennel Street: RHS Tatton Garden

Manchester City Council is bringing this garden, which is coming straight from the RHS Tatton show.  Designed by residents from Newton Heath, it depicts a running track and three athletes representing sports that will be included in the London Olympics. 

Exchange Square: The Olympic Live site

The BBC screen will show the London 2012 games. There will be  themed planters, life sized topiary sporting figures and food/drink concessions. 

Cathedral Gardens: The Flower Markets

The flower markets will be relocated from Piccadilly Gardens for the week.  Flower and plant market stalls from Manchester Markets. 

Victoria Street: The Living Street by Groundwork

Victoria Street will be transformed into a visual representation Groundwork stands for – click here. Workshops, gardens, demonstrations, activities through the promotion of health and well being, play, sustainability, community cohesion and food growing. 

Victoria Street: The Volunteer Legacy Garden

A garden designed and maintained by Manchester City Council and volunteers will be built on Victoria Street, to celebrate and recognise their achievements. 

Cateaton Street: Nikal

Nikal is one of the lead sponsors of Dig the City and the Manchester property developer’s  head office will be transformed and open for viewing. 

Dig the City Manchester 2012 is a partnership of public and private sector organisations within the city including Manchester Cathedral, Manchester City Council and Nikal Property Development and is the first of an annual event that is set to grow throughout the city centre year on year. 

The Very Reverend Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester has said: 

“We are thrilled to be participating in the ‘Dig the City’ initiative and are very pleased to be working with our partners in the city. We look forward to welcoming many hundreds of people to the Cathedral and the surrounding precinct to enjoy the flower festival. 

He continued: “A number of musical recitals and performances will be included in the Cathedral during the festival and these will add the celebration and colour in the city this summer. I am particularly excited at the prospect of this festival becoming an annual event in Manchester and that we are able to contribute to this development.’’ 

The only sadness with Dig the City is that it will be such a short festival, a brief week, a fleeting flash of beauty like a butterfly on a summer day.

The good news is that it’s intended to make this festival an annual event. All the partners should be congratulated for giving us this city RHS-type celebration.

Maybe next we can spread it further round the city. 

More details here.


Pretty by the River Irwell in the city centre, the flowers are going to spread up to the CathedralPretty by the River Irwell in the city centre, the flowers are going to spread up to the Cathedral


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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Sue AppletonJune 27th 2012.

Sounds great, shame it's so brief & temporary, we could do with some permanent 'greening' of the city centre & better care of some of the existing parks & gardens.

AnonymousJune 27th 2012.

No problem Sue.... there are plenty of empty sites only waiting to be turned to gardens. on eright next to me here, Origin , and how about a vertical gardens onthe old Employment Exchange on Aytoun street, and what about the site on the corner of Lever Street and London Rd (Piccadilly Gardens)

I am sure you have a spade at the ready (and the cash)

Maggie Milner shared this on Facebook on June 27th 2012.
JoanJune 27th 2012.

Gorgeous. I could almost smell those hyacinths through my iPad.

Dave MartinJune 27th 2012.

Waking nightmare for hay fever sufferers like me. Wheres my concrete oasis gone? LOL

Janet Cottrell shared this on Facebook on June 28th 2012.
Gillian Potter-Merrigan shared this on Facebook on June 28th 2012.
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