Manchester’s bid for a Chelsea gold

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Manchester’s bid for a Chelsea gold

Calling all budding horticulturalists, arborists, tree surgeons, park keepers or topiarists, as well as anybody with a yen for landscape gardening, hydroponics or vertical gardening. There are several universities that could persuade you to follow one or more of these career paths, in preference to the old favourites of business studies, engineering and technology, medicine, law or media studies. If you think you have potentially green fingers, then read on for some information that might inspire your future direction.


The erstwhile people at the Marketing Manchester organisation have announced ‘an ambitious and innovative plan to change perceptions of the city’ by creating a show garden that will be exhibited at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Designed by Exterior Architecture, there’s a hint in the name that suggests the garden will focus on more than just flowers. Named, somewhat uninspiringly, ‘The Manchester Garden’, it will be part of the ‘Space to Grow’ category and will be rubbing shoulders with other well- known names such as Facebook and Ikea, not normally associated with the Chelsea event, who will also be bidding for a coveted gold medal.


The design will feature many of the prerequisites of modern-day schemes, including planting to reflect the trend for urban green infrastructure, as well as endorsing the need to combat climate change, rising temperatures and weather extremes. The garden will feature mainly re-used materials, with no waste, and the ultimate aim is for it to be dismantled and taken back to Manchester to be incorporated into new building projects or existing open spaces.


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


So, if you’re green fingered and simply picture your vocation as being on your knees wearing a tatty old pair of gardening gloves like lots of other old fuddy-duddies, think again. Just consider some of the exciting courses and modules that could shape your future career in horticulture: Climate, Soils and Land Use; Crop Production; Biological Processes; Landscape Principles and Practice; or Horticulture (Plant Sciences). In the meantime, in the unlikely event that you can actually go in person to the show, keep an eye out for the TV coverage in May. And let’s hope that ‘The Manchester Garden’ wins a gold medal to keep this fine city in the spotlight.