Hull planning green celebrations

Successful City of Culture bid included meadows and thousands of trees as gateways to the city.

Hull art: Seeds for the Desert
Hull art: Seeds for the Desert

Gardens, meadows and trees are important elements of Hull's celebration plans for when it becomes UK City of Culture in 2017.

Part of its winning bid featured pictorial meadows and thousands of trees planted as gateways to the city with the long-term greening of the city a key aspiration.

After selecting Hull, judges praised its community and creative engagement, focus on legacy and theme of "a city coming out of the shadows".

Programme director Andrew Dixon said: "When we consulted artists, they wanted to make a big statement about a sustainable legacy and to highlight that we've got big open spaces.

"We're taking a very broad definition of culture and we hope there will also be a really strong environmental benefit. We'll be looking for sponsors, artists and designers to work with us. There's been quite a lot of support from local businesses to the idea of committing to an environmental legacy."

One driving force in the bid was Hull artist Adele Howitt, who peppered Hull with cars bursting with flowers to highlight the need for bee-friendly planting schemes as part of its Freedom Festival in 2012.

A bee-friendly floral black cab created by Howitt and her working partner Fiona Weir - a landscape architect and bee specialist - featured at the Horniman Museum in London as part of this year's Chelsea Fringe Festival.

Hull is also planning city allotments and "sustainable food meadows" linked to the Roots & Routes Food Festival and to explore Hull's relationship with food as part of a long-term vision for the city.

"This will be done in a very Hull way," said Dixon. "We hope that the impact will deliver something new and a bit different."

Artistic gardens: Derry-Londonderry focus

This year's City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, has also incorporated artist-designed gardens, creating green spaces in disused, abandoned and unusual places.

The project, curated by city gallery Void, aims to focus on the natural in the city centre and create gardens that could be catalysts for reflection, imagination and innovation. Artists Katie Holten, Locky Morris and Ackroyd & Harvey were involved.

Hull has 136 parks, playing fields and playgrounds as well as an aviary, conservatory, animal compound and the Nelson Mandela Peace Gardens.

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