Manchester’s retro flower show returns to cover the city in thousands of blossoms

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This June Manchester’s streets will once again be overflowing with blossoms and foliage as the Manchester Flower Show makes it return to the city.

It will see Manchester’s professional and amateur gardeners, florists, landscapers, architects, charities and schools create breathtaking displays that spill out over King Street.

The event pays homage to the original Manchester Flower Show, which officially began in 1951 after a previously unsuccessful attempt to launch it after WW1.

An annual fixture in Platt Fields park from the 50s until 2003, during its heydey the show showcased a wide range of home and country displays – not just flowers.

From fruit and vegetable produce to livestock, nuts, sweets, trinkets and fashion items, there would be all sorts on display. Even vehicles and machinery.

According to a centenary booklet produced by the friends of Platt Fields park in 2010, there was also “horse-jumping (key jump jockeys competed at Platt Fields), vintage and new car and motorbike displays and the latest fire-service or police vehicles.”

Today, the festival mostly sticks to flowers – although last year’s displays nodded to years gone by as arrangements spilt out of bonnets and boots.

After a fifteen-year hiatus, the show was resurrected in 2018 starting up again from a new home on King Street as part of the area’s annual festival.

Showcasing a market of gardening products, outdoor accessories and flowers alongside regional talent from gardeners and floral arrangers, it will return this year on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June.

Festival organisers are now calling out for entries. Looking to celebrate Manchester’s cultural diversity, this year’s theme for the show is ‘Around the World’ and is being left open to interpretation.

From choosing a country or national flower to taking inspiration from a particular terrain or country’s flag, organisers are looking for a diverse mix of entries.

These can include anything from desert cacti, English roses and coastal beaches to Japanese wall and rock gardens or French vineyards.

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New for 2020 is a dedicated schools category, judged by the Royal Horticultural Society, in which schools can enter designs for a small planter which represents their favourite holiday.

Planters should be designed using a reused, recycled or inexpensive object which showcases an innovative use of materials and appropriate plants that communicate the theme and message of the school.

On top of this, there are three further categories all judged by Royal Horticultural Society Head Gardeners: the Pocket Garden, the Green Takeover and Floral Bicycle.

The Pocket Garden category is aimed at professional and novice gardeners with judges looking to see innovative use of materials and appropriate plants that communicate the theme and the message to visitors.

Whilst the Green Takeover will see artists take over urban features such as lamp posts, balconies, entranceways or even bus stops.

Aimed at professional garden designers, floral event companies, artists, architects, landscaping and garden companies, cultural attractions, charities, universities and colleges, installations should demonstrate high quality, creative design and innovative use of materials and plants that would thrive in an inner-city setting.

Last but not least, the Floral Bicycle is perfect for amateurs and first-timers. Entries need to display plants, flowers or cut flowers using a bicycle as the base.

Entry is free, with no cost for using the spaces allocated. The deadline for completed applications is Friday 6th April 2020. For more information and to download an application form visit Manchester Flower Show applications or contact lucy.russell@cityco.com.

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