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Manchester Flower Festival set to bloom this May bank holiday

The much-loved flower festival is set to brighten up Manchester from next May bank holiday

The Manchester Flower Festival returns next month with a brand-new theme for this year’s hugely popular city centre floral extravaganza.

I’m sure we’re all looking forward to a bit of vibrant colour in town after the gloom of winter.

As we bid farewell to the inaugural RHS Urban Show, we’re just getting warmed up for round two of Manchester’s summer of floral fun.

From iconic figures to musical marvels, this year’s festival promises a riot of colours and creativity that’ll have you snapping selfies at every turn.

And as the city blooms, what better time to check out the city’s incredible green spaces?

The Manchester Flower Festival

This year’s edition, which is in its sixth year, will be celebrating Manchester Icons.

Prepare to be dazzled by an array of awesome displays paying homage to our city’s most beloved figures, from local legends to iconic landmarks.

Crafted with love by talented local artists, gardeners, and flower enthusiasts, these displays are sure to get you in the mood for summer.

And I think you’ll agree with us when we say we can’t wait to see some of these belters.

What arrangements will be where?

Here are the names and locations of this year’s fabulous floral entries.

What first attracted you to the comedian Caroline Aherne?

Where? The Floral Marquee, New Cathedral Street
Created by floral designer Liv Woodward, in partnership with acclaimed Manchester artist Stanley Chow, this piece honours the memory of Manchester legend, Caroline Aherne, through a wonderful portrait and a floral frame of sustainably sourced plants and flowers.

The Girls Aloud Tribute Garden

Where? Cotton Bud Fountain, St Ann’s Square
A beautiful floral sculpture celebrating Girls Aloud and their 2024 shows at Manchester’s iconic AO Arena, this piece showcases the Girls performing in front of the Cotton Bud Fountain, which has been dressed in a magnificent tutu to match.

This garden has also been created in honour of the late Sarah Harding, where visitors can donate to the Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal by scanning the QR code at the display.

Emmeline’s Town Hall

Where? The corner of King Street and Cross Street
Paying homage to Emmeline Pankhurst, this piece has been created by female lead Decordia, featuring an ornate wooden Manchester Town Hall-inspired planter with sashes, posters and colourful icons, alongside a wicker figure of Emmeline herself.

Adorned with purple, green and white plants, this piece represents the colours of the suffragette movement.

Queen Bee Rowetta

Where? The Royal Exchange Manchester – Inside, St Ann’s Square
A fabulous floral representation of Manchester icon Rowetta, best known for her work with The Happy Mondays, this piece has been crafted from a mannequin, with her hair and outfit inspired by the iconic Manchester Bee.

Encompassing a hive full of fresh flowers, with colours inspired by the 1990s and the English rock band, this bee-friendly garden celebrates the city’s iconic music scene. Visitors are encouraged to share photos with #QueenBeeRowetta across social media to enter a competition with The Royal Exchange Manchester.

Gnome Island

Where? King Street
A creative take on Gnome Island, a small fortress that can be spotted in the middle of Manchester Shipping Canal, make sure to look out for tributes to the city’s two world-famous football clubs, Salford poet and comedian, John Cooper Clarke, and activist, Emmeline Pankhurst – created with help from Television & Film design students from Salford University – alongside other Mancunian inspired gnomes.

The Second Summer of Love

Where? Manchester Arndale – Inside, New Cannon Street, Lower Ground Floor
Stroll down New Cannon Street inside Manchester Arndale to spot a tribute to the city’s Second Summer of Love rave culture. Including a flower power archway, iconic Manchester symbols and psychedelic figures celebrating the era, this piece has been designed by Visual Architects and features a colourful display reflecting the free spirit, music, artwork and waves of harmony from the late 80s and early 90s in Manchester.

Boddingtons Blooms

Where? Corn Exchange Manchester – Inside, Exchange Square, Manchester
Corn Exchange Manchester will be transformed into a desert scene that pays homage to Manchester’s most iconic ale, Boddingtons Brewery. Experience a sandy haven of weathered tree bases, lush green mounds and playful tumbleweeds. Look out for a vintage ice cream van, inspired by the 1998 TV advert with Melanie Sykes.

The Iconic Hive

Where? New Cathedral Street

Returning for a second year due to popular demand, The Iconic Hive will be located on New Cathedral Street, featuring a geometric structure filled with an abundance of fresh and dried flowers, complete with an 11ft cork tree structure and images of the city’s most iconic figures. Take an iconic picture and share using the designer’s hashtag, #citiblooms.

This is Manchester

Where? St Ann’s Square
A spectacular floral celebration of Manchester’s iconic signs and artwork, this piece features recreations of Affleck’s mosaic murals, the ‘City of Manchester’ welcome sign and the ‘Glamour of Manchester’ artwork, currently on display at the Refuge, partnered with displays of foxgloves, alliums and birch trees to tell a story of Manchester through the ages.

The Hacienda Gardens

Where? Corner of King Street and Deansgate

For a creation masterminded by Frog, head to King Street to discover a garden themed around Manchester’s iconic Hacienda nightclub. With monochromatic yellow flowers and plants, iconic yellow and black striped poles and disco balls, this is a place that will bring back fond memories of Manchester’s house clubbing scene.

Find out more about the Manchester Flower Festival here

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