Dig the City show gardens revealed

Hot tubs, floral bus stops, edible tunnels and heritage vegetables on show at the UK's biggest free urban gardening festival

Hulme Community Garden Centre, part of last year's show
Hulme Community Garden Centre, part of last year's show

The show garden designs chosen for Manchester’s Dig the City festival have been announced.

Entrants include Manchester School of Art, Tatton Park, Friends of the Earth, landscape designer Jo Green, owner of Green & Wood and two displays by Manchester City Council.

Their designs range from bee-friendly planting, Tatton Park's Japanese meditative garden, a sound garden and several grow your own plots. There will also be a one-off floral display in St. Ann’s Square inspired by Manchester’s cotton trading past.

TV gardener Rachel de Thame and the National Trust's city gardener Sean Harkin will judge the 16 chosen designs at the festival, held in the city centre from 2 to 10 August.

The designs had to fit into one of three categories: 'city gardens', ‘eat’ and ‘grow anywhere’ and all were tasked with solving the challenges of garden ring in a small urban space.

Judge de Thame said: "We've been overwhelmed by the calibre and creativity of the show gardens. It will be awesome to see them all on the city centre streets from 2 August."

Manchester City Council will bring two bee-friendly gardens to the event, recycled from its displays at RHS Tatton Park. A Bee’s Journey, looks at a bee’s foraging sortie and the plants it visits and The Bee Roads to Manchester tells the story of how the city is doing its bit to halt the decline of the bee, via beehives and the creation of a ‘nectar-rich highway’ of plants and flowers in between.

Green’s work has been described as ‘environmental art’ and is building an inspirational space for an eco-conscious, design-savvy couple who want something beautiful and environmentally friendly to complement their home.

"Designed for a small courtyard or terrace garden, my show garden will inspire urbanites to make the most of even the tiniest plot - and encourage them to think 'outside the box'. Even a small garden can be planted to become an urban oasis, do wonders for the local eco-system and provide sustenance for the belly as well as the soul," she said.

TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin will join de Thame to give talks on urban gardening and landscape design at the event, which aims to transform the streets of Manchester into a garden city.

Dig the City is free but some events are ticketed and charge an entry fee.


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