Manchester prepares to debut at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

9 May 2019

Marketing Manchester, part of the Growth Company, is gearing up to change perceptions of the city when it proudly debuts The Manchester Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 later this month (21-25 May), with the trees provided by City of Trees.

Designed by Exterior Architecture and exhibiting in the ‘Space to Grow’ category, The Manchester Garden will offer a fresh perspective on post-industrial cities, highlighting the reinvention of Greater Manchester, its resilience and its adaptability.

The garden will aim to challenge long held pre-conceptions about the region whilst raising important questions about how cities manage urban green infrastructure in the face of climate change, rising temperatures and weather extremes.

Along with a structure that incorporates urban, parkland, remediation and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) planting, The Manchester Garden will feature several talking points that relate back to the city:

  • Ten trees to represent the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, provided by Manchester’s very own City of Trees initiative, which aims to plant a tree for every Greater Manchester resident, within a generation;
  • A water feature telling the story of the region’s major waterways;
  • A paved area created with beautiful local sandstone, appropriately named after a founding city elder, Sir Joseph Whitworth

In a move to support emerging local arts and culture, The Manchester Garden will also feature a focal sculpture by Denton-based studio Lazerian. Created by artist Liam Hopkins, the seven-metre 3D design will showcase the region’s journey from one-time ‘cottonpolis’ to the home of graphene by referencing the structural similarities of both materials: cotton and graphene.

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “This is an ambitious project that will allow us to promote the city to an entirely new audience and demographic. It will give us a platform to start a vital conversation about green spaces and Greater Manchester’s green infrastructure strategy - and with European’s biggest garden project coming to Salford next summer through the phase one completion of RHS Bridgewater Garden, 2019 felt like the right time to make our debut at the Show.”

The decision to create The Manchester Garden for RHS Chelsea was also driven by the huge promotional and media opportunity it affords as well as a new way to engage with key partners. Southern continues: “The Show creates over 14 hours of prime-time television, two hours per evening throughout the week, and we aim to make the most of this to get Greater Manchester’s message out to the millions of viewers. We have been working closely with the BBC ahead of the Show to make a short film about Greater Manchester that will be used to introduce the Manchester Garden during the live broadcast. We are very excited to see how the film turns out, as well the opportunity on the live show to talk about how the city-region has evolved in recent years.”

Key supporter of The Manchester Garden include: Addleshaw Goddard; Aviva Investors; Cole Waterhouse; Domis; Edwardian Hotels; Hardscape; Manchester Central; The Greater Manchester Resilience Unit; Virgin Trains; City of Trees; Lazerian; and Exterior Architecture.

Jonathan Miley, Director at Exterior Architecture, said: “As landscape architects, we see the natural environment as a key component of our urban centres. Our design reflects the innovative way in which landscape intertwines with the places in which we live, work and play, and charts Manchester’s industrial history and re-emergence as a green and ‘Original Modern’ city region. A desire to work collaboratively alongside partner organisations to create resilient and adaptive urban landscapes is at the heart of our approach and we’re very much looking forward to supporting Manchester in delivering this exciting and high-profile project for the city region at Chelsea Flower Show. The legacy of the garden will materialise after the show when we will relocate elements of the garden within the Greater Manchester area.”

The Manchester Garden embodies many of the qualities that define Greater Manchester including resilience, ambition, diversity and progressive thinking. Greater Manchester is a global role model in the UN's Making Cities Resilient programme and is working to become one of the most resilient places in the world to live, work, play and visit.

Commenting on The Manchester Garden, Dr Kathryn Oldham OBE, chief resilience officer, said: "Greater Manchester is looking forward to an exciting future in which we will continue our economic growth and be one of the best places in the UK in which to live and work. Although a modern urban centre, Greater Manchester is fifty percent rural, and the natural environment is recognised as being integral to our resilience, offering unique places to explore and enjoy, benefiting our health and well-being and protecting us from emergencies and shocks. This recognition of the significance of protective ecosystems is also part of worldwide efforts to reduce the risk of disasters; work which Greater Manchester is contributing to. This includes the importance of our upland and lowland peat bogs which are one of the greatest carbon stores in the world and of our tree cover. We are even planting a tree for every person who lives in Greater Manchester within a generation - that's three million trees. The Manchester Garden symbolises our commitment to resilience, whilst recognising and showcasing the ingenuity, spirit and pride that makes Greater Manchester so special.”

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