One good thing about the Manchester weather is that all the rain we get is good for the gardens. This will be abundantly clear when Dig the City, the UK’s largest summer garden festival, returns to the streets of the city centre from Friday 31 July to Thursday 6 August…
If you thought gardens were boring, think again because Dig the City, Manchester’s answer to RHS Chelsea, is set to transform our city centre streets with glorious gardens, daytime and evening events, shopping exclusives, pop-up bars and masses of FREE events.
‘One thing is guaranteed.
Manchester will look
Some of Manchester’s best shops will be taking part with their own spectacular floral window displays, and the city centre’s restaurants and bars will take part with menu tributes and offers.
There will be talks from the National Trust, Big Allotment Challenge Winner 2015, and gardens in Manchester, as well as a Manchester Jazz Festival Takeover and tons of free events for children.
One thing is guaranteed. Manchester will look blooming lovely. 28 show gardens and installations from both professional and amateur designers will be displayed throughout the festival, including an award winning bee garden, a soil-less garden and a community garden made from salvage.
Highlights include the Coronation Street The Tour Garden, inspired by Manchester’s most famous street, which will explore how a famous ginnel behind the Rovers Return can be turned green and beautiful. Following the festival, this garden will be used to create a new green alleyway in the city.
Stimulating the senses from the city streets will be a digital garden from the University of Salford and a performance venue garden from The Bridgewater Hall.
Manchester Jazz Festival will be taking over the New Cathedral Street Bandstand on Sunday 2 August, and there will be three spectacular gardens fresh from RHS Tatton, including a previous Tatton Gold winner, a bee garden and a striking space where visitors can become RHS designers and rearrange the plants to their liking.
IWM North will be celebrating their Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits summer exhibition with a ‘Dig for Victory’ allotment, and hanging baskets will bloom in New Cathedral Street, bringing colour and fragrance at every turn.
Bring a plant to St Ann’s Square on the opening weekend to make a triumphant Manchester ‘People’s Garden’. Those who bring a pot will be entered into a fabulous prize draw, and plants will be donated to local community groups as part of Dig the City’s lasting legacy.
The gardens and installations will be judged on Friday 31 July by celebrity gardener and BBC presenter Diarmuid Gavin and Manchester’s National Trust Gardener in Residence, Sean Harkin.
But there’s more to Dig the City than gardens. On Saturday 1 August, #digforfashion will launch Dig the City’s ‘One Big Shopping Weekend’ with a moving fashion show which will strut its stuff from King Street to New Cathedral Street on a green grass runway. See collections from Reiss, Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser, Joy and more, and help find ‘The Face of Dig 2015.’
Shop windows will turn into gardens pretty as a picture. Retailers from Jigsaw, LK Bennett and Hobbs, to Paperchase, Skipton Building Society and Molton Brown will bring their windows to life with flowers and plants. Check out House of Fraser who will be displaying a floral textile collection from The Whitworth. Show your love on social media and vote for The People’s Favourite window using #digthecitymcr
Look for the Dig the City logo on shop windows to discover which retailers have special events and offers on during the ‘One Big Shopping Weekend’ such as Dig discounts at Gap, Joy, Selfridges, Kipling, The White Company, Henri Lloyd, Paperchase, Patisserie Valerie, The Whiskey Shop, Links of London and Vidal Sassoon, makeovers and gifts at SpaceNK and The Body Shop, children’s planting event, free coffee and pamper events at White Stuff and Mint Cocktails at Mint Velvet.
The Whitworth art gallery will be teaching us how art, gardening and meditation can improve wellbeing, by holding free daily Tai Chi sessions. Head to the Dig the City Den in St Ann’s Square at 3pm. The lessons will be held on one of the show gardens.
Kicking off the festival weekend are two evening garden parties. On 31 July, it’s Northern Soul Night, hosted by Howling Rhythm and featuring Northern Soul dancers and a full live brass section – The Howling Horns. Party goers can join in Northern Soul dance classes and taste whiskies from The Whisky Shop.
And on Saturday 1 August, there’s a 1920’s Speakeasy Party, with vintage jazz collective 52 Skiddoo and Charleston dancers to make the party swing. Sample botanical gins cocktails and party like its 1929!
There’s loads more to see and do. For more information: www.digthecity.co.uk