Following on from today's earlier post a few words about our visit yesterday to 'Dig The City' in Manchester. Described as an urban garden festival this is on from the 3rd - 11th August offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy some special one off events, talks, workshops as well as shopping. The majority of what is on offer is free although some of the talks have been priced at a modest £5. Considering that speakers have included such well known figures such as Monty Don, Rachel de Tame and Matt James this is excellent value.
I must admit that I rarely venture into Manchester as I find the city city so busy and overwhelming, but the festival hub and most of the activities were situated in the relatively tranquil area around Manchester Cathedral. If my memory serves me there was a smaller event under 'The Dig City' banner last year but I think it was mainly focused on flower arranging and it was staged in the cathedral. The cathedral is closed at the moment as a green heating system is being installed but there was plenty going on outside.
We stood and looked up at the specially created forest in Exchange Square ~
Here some 70 trees formed what is described as a 'pop up woodland'. They are destined to be planted permanently in a regeneration project taking place in the heart of the city.
Manchester City Council's entry into the bedding class competition at July's RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park had been recreated in front of the cathedral ~
Shame about the left out railings which were slightly distracting. The entry won a gold medal at Tatton and best in its class.
We liked these figures ~
Just round the corner local projects including children and young people's groups had planted up these large containers ~
Whilst there was some more unusual container planting too ~
There were a few show gardens including this most clever optical illusion ~
The planting is real but the lower part of the cityscape including the canal is a huge photograph.
Here I liked the planting but was not so sure about the chairs ~
Craning our necks to admire the giant latex balloons, the work of American artist Jason Hackenwerth. I think that these were giant bees buzzing high in the skies ~
If you are in striking distance of Manchester this week it's certainly worth a visit. There are still some great speakers and workshops to come. Unfortunately these were thin on the ground yesterday so our we were left with time on our hands to do other things. There are various activities for children too - we did not get to see her but Peppa Pig was around yesterday. The social media coverage of the festival both in the lead up and now that the festival is on has been great with regular input from @digthecity on Twitter. In fact some of the established garden shows and festivals could benefit from looking at both the 'Dig The City' Twitter feed and website. I was also most impressed with the almost instant email response after making an enquiry.
A couple of suggestions where there is room for improvement :
It would have been great if the event had a presence at the railway station i.e. in our case Manchester Picaddilly handing out information especially that vital map. This was an ideal chance to catch people coming into the city who may not have known about the festival.
Secondly and a source of major disappointment to me - there was only one outlet in the horticultural market that sold plants!
Congratulations to all those involved in putting this festival together and hoping that it becomes a fixed date in the calendar.
PS Despite the grey skies and Manchester's well know reputation for the wet stuff there was no rain during the day.