Manchester’s first entry at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019, inspired by the themes of adaptability and resilience, has been awarded Silver.
The Manchester Garden has been designed for Marketing Manchester by landscape architects Exterior Architecture. It offers a fresh perspective on post-industrial cities, highlighting the reinvention of Greater Manchester whilst raising important questions about how cities manage urban green infrastructure in the face of climate change, rising temperatures and weather extremes.
Spanning across a structure that incorporates urban, parkland, remediation and sustainable drainage system (SuDS) planting is a stunning sculpture by Manchester artist Liam Hopkins that showcases the importance of materials to the region, from one-time ‘cottonpolis’ to the home of potentially world-changing graphene.
The Manchester Garden has a space to gather together, in a paved area created with beautiful local sandstone, appropriately named after a founding city elder, Sir Joseph Whitworth, and a water feature that tells the story of the region’s major waterways; how they pumped life into the city, helped it grow and made it possible for its industries to thrive.
Ten trees – representative of the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester – are plane, pine, hazel, dawn redwood, locust and mountain ash; all specified for tomorrow’s climate in partnership with Manchester’s very own City of Trees initiative, which aims to plant a tree for every resident, within a generation.
The Manchester Garden offers the city – and RHS Chelsea Flower Show visitors – with a planting palette that can future-proof our built environment. The garden has been designed to be no waste with plants and trees returning to parks and outdoor spaces across the region, as well as being gifted to volunteers from several Manchester-based Friends of Parks groups. One of the main benefactors of plants will be the garden at Wythenshawe Hall which is set to reopen in autumn following restoration after an arson attack in 2016.
Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be awarded Silver for The Manchester Garden, in our first year at the Show.
“Whilst it has undoubtably been beautifully designed and executed, our garden is also a starting point for a conversation about vital issues of our time – green infrastructure, climate change, sustainability, resilience and the irrefutable value of green space within cities and the built environment – and represents a vision for what innovative places like Manchester can and should aspire to be like.
“The Manchester Garden is a credit to everyone who has worked on it – from Jonny and the team at Exterior Architecture to Liam at Lazerian, but also the wider consortium of private sector partners and supporters who have contributed to make our first year at RHS Chelsea Flower Show possible. We look forward to returning next year.”
Garden designer, Jonathan Miley of Exterior Architecture, said: “It is a huge honour to have The Manchester Garden awarded a Silver medal and a great way to finish the fantastic journey we have been on.
“Whilst our focus has always been on the garden’s legacy – what it gives back to Manchester in terms of resilient and adaptive planting communities and a changed perspective on the value of urban green space – receiving a medal is a huge achievement and testament to the massive team effort involved.
“I would like to thank the team at Marketing Manchester for giving us the opportunity to explore important issues facing our external environment through the garden. We hope that it has helped generate debate and establish Manchester as a city willing to reinvent itself and adapt to a changed future.”
The Manchester Garden is at plot 287 within the ‘Space to Grow’ area of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show until Saturday 25 May 2019.