Marketing Manchester, part of the Growth Company, have announced an ambitious and innovative plan to change perceptions of the city-region by exhibiting The Manchester Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

Confirmed today by the RHS, The Manchester Garden will exhibit in the ‘Space to Grow’ category alongside several other gardens, which this year includes entries by companies and organisations not usually associated with the Show including Facebook and IKEA.

The Manchester Garden, designed by Exterior Architecture, will offer a fresh perspective on post-industrial cities through several rich and progressive themes that point to the reinvention of Greater Manchester, its resilience and its adaptability. It will aim to raise important questions about how cities manage urban green infrastructure in the face of climate change, rising temperatures and more frequent weather extremes.

The garden will feature notable talking points that Mancunians will be familiar with: ten trees to represent the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester; a water feature telling the story of the region’s waterways; a commissioned sculpture that showcases the journey from one-time Cottonpolis to the home of the wonder material that is graphene; and a paved area created with beautiful local sandstone, appropriately named after a founding city elder, Sir Joseph Whitworth.

The garden will also be designed to be no waste and will utilise largely re-used materials. Elements will be relocated back to Greater Manchester after the event with the help of Manchester’s very own City of Trees initiative, so that planting, sculpture, trees and paving can be integrated into new or existing external spaces.

Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester is a -pioneering city-region that is currently facing one of the most pronounced and exciting periods of change in its very colourful modern history.

“In partnership we’ve spent the best part of a decade and a half working to create a new narrative about the city-region; a long-term project that is now being realised nationally and internationally in terms of city attractiveness and success. So what better way to announce this reinvention to the world, than to take the story of Manchester to one of the country’s most well-respected and prestigious events.

“We are striving to be a green city and we also have the biggest garden project in Europe coming up in the next few years in the shape of Salford’s RHS Bridgewater. It’s beyond time then, that we present something bold and beautiful to the world to tackle head-on some of the tired assumptions and pre-conceptions about our wonderful post-industrial, original modern city.

The project will be funded and supported entirely through project partners and will offer a very special set of opportunities for those involved.

Sheona continues: “The Manchester Garden offers a progressive vision of resilience and adaptability, but beyond these themes there is also a very important business case to be made for attending RHS Chelsea. Creating a major installation for the 160,000 show attendees is an invaluable means of reaching a fresh and influential set of new audiences, and our key messages will be amplified significantly by media coverage including daily prime-time BBC slots.

“There will also be capacity for high profile engagement with VIPs and senior stakeholders through an in-show events programme at RHS Chelsea. Of course, anyone who is aware of how successful the Manchester at MIPIM partnership has become in its 20 years will understand the value that such an events programme, hosted within an entirely new anchor event and with a wholly new audience base, can offer our business community.

“We’re very excited to see The Manchester Garden take shape and we are especially excited to be involved in a year when companies like Facebook and IKEA are exhibiting. RHS Chelsea is moving on and seeking to attract new audiences, and Manchester being part of that feels very special.”

Jonathan Miley, Director at Exterior Architecture, added: “To be involved in the creation of this garden gives us a fantastic opportunity to affirm our commitment to Manchester and the city region. 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.  A desire to work collaboratively and with integrity, to create resilient and adaptive urban landscapes alongside our partners, is at the heart of our approach.

“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 and creating a lasting legacy by relocating elements of the garden after the show within Greater Manchester.”