book tickets for dig the city

The Living Street to inspire all at Dig the City

Dear followers

We’re very excited to announce that Groundwork, the environmental regeneration experts, are to take over an area near Manchester Cathedral to show Mancunians how healthier and greener living ideas could be recreated on their doorsteps.

Groundwork Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford (MSSTT) are to temporarily make the recently pedestrianised Victoria Street, adjacent to Manchester Cathedral, into an urban garden as part of Dig in the City!

Groundwork MSSTT plans to bring to life the 250metre street, promoting the longstanding Groundwork vision of “changing places, changing lives” by showcasing a wide range of projects linked, amongst other things, to health and wellbeing, play, environmental sustainability, social enterprises, community cohesion and food growing. Elements of the Groundwork show gardens at the RHS Hampton Court event will be transplanted into the centre of the city.

“This will be a visually stimulating and thought provoking display, where we turn tarmac into a green oasis” said Groundwork’s Senior Landscape Architect, Julie Hyslop. Instead of having garden festival events out in the country, Groundwork along with Manchester Cathedral and the City Council are bringing the countryside into the city. People will be able to see how becoming more connected with the environment even in urban spaces can really improve their lives and make them feel better.

“With plans to inspire and change the perceptions of the public to help them imagine the possibilities Victoria Street can have. ‘The Living Street’ will be peppered with interactive live demonstrations, training workshops and talks to help educate, enthuse and interact with the general public.”

Groundwork has been “changing places, changing lives” since 1982, with over 35 independent Trusts now working across the UK to support those neighbourhoods facing the most significant challenges. Although the world is a very different place in 2012, there are still many parallels with 1982.

“Communities are being buffeted by economic forces beyond their control “a concern expressed by Groundwork UK, as part of Operation Groundwork. “ Unemployment is high and social tensions are simmering. There is a need for new thinking about how we manage land and green spaces and increasing urgency about the real and unstoppable impacts of climate change. 30 years on, Groundwork still holds on to that vision and forever pledges to help make a brighter future.”

We can’t wait to see The Living Street!

Horticultural regards


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nursery Fresh has a busy week ahead!

Dear followers

Our fantastic flower supplier, Nursery Fresh, is expecting one of their busiest weekends of the year as sole supplier to The Chichester Cathedral Flower Festival 2012.

Nursery Fresh will be supplying and delivering the flowers to Manchester Cathedral, The Triangle and the National Football Museum for Dig the City – a pretty big task!

Working with 150 flower arrangers and approximately 50,000 stems of flowers, Nursery Fresh will sort and condition every single stem prior to delivery to the Cathedral.

Thousands of lilies will be delivered today so that they will open in time for next week’s event.

The Nursery Fresh ‘Team’ have supplied the Chichester Cathedral Flower Festival since 2006 and are thrilled to be working with Internationally renowned florist, friend and Patron Paula Pryke.

We’re pleased to be working with such an experienced team and can’t wait to open the doors to share it all with you!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where do our flowers come from?

Dear followers

The subject of ‘locally grown’ is close to our hearts and, with that in mind, we wanted to tell you about the flowers that will be on display in Manchester Cathedral, and where they come from.

It is the policy of our flower suppliers, Nursery Fresh, to use British grown flowers where possible. Nursery Fresh is a big supporter of British grown flowers and is a regular contributor to Britishcut

It is a sad fact, however, that many British growers were forced out of business during the 1970’s oil crisis. In the ‘80’s virtually all carnation growers in the UK were forced out of business when the Government decided to ‘drop’ import duty on carnations grown in Columbia in a bid to ‘help’ third world countries.In the 1990’s growers in the UK were given very little aid, whilst the Dutch growers were very heavily subsidised by their government.
In latter years many growers have been squeezed out of business by the supermarkets, and many growers have sold their glass houses for housing development or soft fruit production.

It is a sad fact, therefore, that the production of British flowers is limited.

The bulk of the flowers used for Dig the City will be sourced and grown in Holland. Flowers that are not indigenous to the UK or Holland will be sourced from the Country where that product is in season in order to maintain quality and longevity.

‘Hot’ Orchids will be sourced in the Far East, ‘fillers’ such as Solidago and Gypsophila will be sourced from Israel, ‘Tropical’s’ will come from South Africa and South East Asia as will certain foliages. Carnations will originate in Columbia.

There is often a misconception that imported flowers have a much higher carbon footprint than flowers produced in the UK. To produce flowers in the winter in the UK, many gallons of heavy oil will be burned, whilst the same flowers, grown in warmer countries, will require no heat input.

Nursery Fresh will always use growers who are registered as Fairtrade growers where possible. Please click here for their environmental policy.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dig the City photographs will have the Edge

Dear followers

We’re delighted to announce that local leading photographers, Edge Photographic Studio, has joined the Dig the City team as our official photographers.

Edge Photographic Studio is one of the region’s leading commercial studios. With over 20 years experience the two in-house professional photographers specialise in people and products, with a reputation for creating high impact images. Working for celebrities, multi-national companies, leading corporate firms, as well as small businesses throughout the UK, the images taken are regularly used for advertising and PR, helping businesses lift their profile.

Edge also runs photography courses on a one to one basis with all levels catered for, from beginner to advanced. With no set times or dates, all the courses can be booked at a time that suits the individual, including weekends and evenings.

Based just minutes from Manchester City centre, the entire studio is available to hire from £30 per hour and is regularly used by photographers and filmmakers from all over the UK.

If you would like some more information about the team at Edge, see

Horticultural regards!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local talent is showcased at the flower festival

Dear followers

It takes a large team to fill a building the size of Manchester Cathedral with flowers, and around 200 people will be doing just this in July as we create the flower festival at Dig the City! It’s a regional effort as well as the staging team has been gathered from churches in the Manchester Diocese and from local flower clubs.

Many of you will know that church flower arrangers do a wonderful job every week, and on high days and holidays. They decorate our churches with beautiful flowers – usually on very, very little money! Having these teams work on Dig the City is a thank you to them for all their hard work and it also an opportunity for these folks to work on larger designs without the tight budget. We’ve got volunteers working with us from the following churches in the regional Diocese:

All Saints, Stand
Ashton – Under – Lyne
Christ Church, West Didsbury
Church of the Saviour
Manchester Cathedral
St Anne’s, Clifton
St Anne’s, Royton
St George’s, Tyldesley
St John the Baptist
St John’s, Hopwood
St Luke the Physician, Benchill
St Margarets Prestwich
St Marks, Chadderton
St Mary’s, Caddishead
St Matthew & St Luke, Chadderton
St Matthew with St Mary
St Paul’s Church Kersal
St Paul’s Church, Monton
St Thomas The Apostle, Heaton Chapel
St. Catherine’s
St. John the Baptist
The Church of the Holy Family, Failsworth
The Parish Church of St Stephen

Our flower club volunteers are a group of enthusiasts who meet monthly to enjoy all aspects of flower arranging. It might be a demonstration of floral art, a workshop where they get hands on experience and learn new techniques or it might be a trip to a beautiful garden. Flower clubs working on Dig the City are:

Bolton Floral Art Group
Church of England Flower Arrangers from Liverpool Cathedral
Hale Barns Flower Cub
Harwood & District Flower Club
Horwich Floral Art Club
Middleton Floral Art Club
Radcliffe Floral Art Group
Saddleworth Floral Art Society
Sale Flower Club
Salford Flower Club
Whitefield & District Flower Club
Winton Flower Club

There is a wide range of skills and experience in the team but what they lack in any area is more than made up for by their enthusiasm – they are all very excited about being part of this team and creating the beautiful designs that will be displayed in Manchester Cathedral during Dig the City.

While the staging team is made up mostly of women we do have a few of men either doing an exhibit or volunteering to fetch and carry, which is every bit as essential as creating the designs! We couldn’t stage the festival without the hard work and time that is donated free of charge by our fantastic staging team, so it’s a huge thank you to them from us.

Make sure that you head to Manchester Cathedral from 24th – 29th July!

Floral regards!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Creative where all the Cathedral ideas stem from

Dear followers

We’re pleased to have spoken with Elaine Middleton, our award winning floral curator. Not only is she heading up activity within the Cathedral, she’s also the brains behind some super designs at Manchester Arndale and the National Football Museum.

Here’s what Elaine said when we spoke with her…

“I am so thrilled to be part of this flower festival! I have lots of experience of large scale events such as this – Guildford Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace – but to be invited to design the first one for Dig the City Manchester 2012 is a great privilege.

“My initial task was to come up with designs based on music titles – a great source of inspiration. Around 30,000 stems of flowers will be used to interpret music titles from back in Renaissance times, right up to the present day, with a special emphasis on music from Manchester.

“Next I needed a team of people who could build all the designs inside the Cathedral. There was no shortage of willing volunteers and I now have a group of almost 200 from churches in the Manchester Diocese and flower clubs in the area.

“Everyone has been allocated a music title, either in small groups or as individuals and they have developed the design outline they were given.

“We are now at the stage where their flowers orders have been passed to me. Because I know what all the final designs will look like, I can tell if they have ordered too much or too little, if they’ve chosen the appropriate plant material for their title and if they’ve chosen the right accessories to get the message over.

“Most people think of flowers as nice to look at, and they are. But they are also a wonderful artistic medium to work with. The sight of this many flowers being used creatively is quite a spectacle. And let’s not forget the wonderful smells!”

Elaine has been modest in describing her experience as she has several awards and is one of the most respected flower arrangers in the UK! We’re thrilled to have her on the Dig the City team.

Elaine and her team of arrangers from around Manchester and Cheshire will be working around the clock leading into the festival, and it’s so important to thank all of the people that we’re working with, most of whom are doing so on a voluntary basis.

That’s all for now from Elaine – remember to follow us on twitter @digthecity for news and updates.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Keeping Dig the City Fresh

Dear followers

We’re pleased to have some words from Nursery Fresh, our cut flower supplier, who will be providing our team of 200 flower arrangers over 30,000 flowers to create their designs within Manchester Cathedral! Now that is a lot of flowers!

They are the best in the UK at what they do, so our flower festival here in Manchester is in good hands. Here’s a little more information about them…

Nursery Fresh is an award winning ‘Event and Wedding Florists’, and probably the country’s largest supplier of cut flowers to flower festivals. Having devised a unique order and supply system that copes with the largest demands, Nursery Fresh has supplied some of the most successful Flower Festivals in the UK. These national events include the annual ‘Florimania’ at Hampton Court Palace, and flower festivals at Chichester Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Portsmouth Cathedral, Guildford Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.

Nursery Fresh has also supplied three of the recent National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) award winning Chelsea Flower Show main exhibits as well as the ‘RHS London Autumn Harvest Show 2011’ winning design by the NAFAS National Officers.

Nursery Fresh has access to some of the best UK flower growers and will provide as many English Flowers as possible to the Event. This is great news for Dig the City as we like to be as sustainable as possible!

Flowers from other regions will include carnations and foliages from South America, ‘tropicals’ from Kenya, roses and ‘fillers’ from Israel and orchids from South East Asia. Most blooms, however, will be brought from the Dutch Flower Auctions. What’s reassuring though is that although imported flowers are often considered to have a higher carbon footprint than local, this is mostly not the case, as the carbon footprint involved in trying to grow these flowers in the UK would be far higher, because of the amount of oil required order to heat the crop.

When Nursery Fresh came to visit us to discuss the flower festival at the Cathedral, we were delighted to find out that director and founder John Waddington has a link with Manchester going back many years when his late Grandfather, Harry Holford, was a professional comedian working in the clubs of Manchester immediately before and after the War. John still has family in Southport.

John has told us: “Nursery Fresh is delighted and honoured to have been selected to be sole supplier of cut flowers and foliage to ‘Dig The City Manchester 2012’ and it’s fantastic to be working in Manchester.” We’re delighted to be working with them.

That’s all for now about Nursery Fresh – remember to follow us on twitter @digthecity for news and updates.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Volunteers make it happen!

Dear followers

Whilst Dig the City is going to be a spectacle of flowers and all things green, one of our other aims is about working with local people. Volunteers are the backbone of Manchester Cathedral, and while many do it for a love of the Church, 30 new volunteers have taken advantage of a new and imaginative Volunteer and Employability Programme which has recently been launched.

We’ve spoken to Lauren Bailey-Rhodes about the programme, and how it is getting involved with Dig the City. Lauren told us:

“The Volunteer and Employability Programme is the first of its kind in the UK to run from a Cathedral – where employability and enterprise are the measures of success, alongside offering an amazing opportunity for local people to volunteer and connect with their heritage.

“Dig the City is a fantastic opportunity for our volunteers. Ticket sales, promotion, hospitality, set up and hopefully maintenance of legacy gardens, are all the essential roles that our volunteers will be carrying out to ensure the festival is a success

“We have done our research, brought in expertise and have worked closely with award winning volunteer programmes (Manchester and Imperial War Museum, ‘In Touch’ programme). However, the design of the Cathedral programme is more progressive and connects people to jobs in the city.

“Large and important employers in the city of Manchester such as Manchester Arndale, Harvey Nichols, Hilton Deansgate and the Printworks have committed to guaranteed interviews and work placements and we will offer structured support to improve skills, employment and enterprise prospects for all volunteers with employability support from a wide range of partners such as The Manchester College and The Broughton Trust.

“Volunteers are targeted in priority neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester, but the programme is open to anyone who wants to participate from the JobCentrePlus priority groups. Our aim is help those who need more support, skills and work experience to progress into employment. Volunteers work side by side with existing staff and volunteers in a variety of roles learning from their experience and professionalism. They can also have the opportunity to volunteer at a partner organisation and access their training schemes if they like.
“With the support, training and experience from the Cathedral and our partners, our vision is to bring in over 200 new volunteers to Manchester Cathedral and move people into sustainable employment, creating an entirely new employability offer to the residents of Greater Manchester.”
Lauren has had her work cut out over the past weeks interviewing volunteers, and has been delighted with the response from people looking to gain such valuable experience. At Dig the City, we’re delighted that people from the volunteer programme will be able to work with us across a number of disciplines, and we’re looking forward to starting the training!

If you would like any more information about volunteering at either Manchester Cathedral or Dig the City, please call 0161 833 2220.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Landscape architects BDP dig it!

Dear followers

As you know, Dig the City is a collection of some fantastic organisations and groups from across Greater Manchester. The planning of the festival site is being led by landscape architects BDP who, like many, has worked tirelessly to help us create something very speciel. Here’s a little bit more about them.

BDP is a creative collective of designers working together to create great places. Some of our finest moments include Liverpool One and such national treasures as the Royal Albert Hall, Wimbledon and ‘Henman Hill’, and Aintree home of the Grand National. We are equally proud to be the inspiration and energy behind the Manchester Garden City movement whose aim is to green the city, revitalise neglected spaces, encourage community gardening and increase biodiversity.

As a Manchester based company we were very excited to get involved as delivery partners in the city’s first urban flower festival; ‘Dig the City’. The festival ethos perfectly reflects what we wanted from Manchester Garden City; an event that brings people and plants together at the heart of urban Manchester, raising the profile of green issues and the environment. We are proud to be actively involved in this groundbreaking event, and remain keen advocates that Manchester becomes a greener, more environmental and socially sustainable city.

From inception, we were keen to offer our time and ideas to help realise a vision for the festival that transforms ordinary streets and spaces; giving them new interpretation and creative life. The team has developed imaginative ideas that will turn the festival site into an exciting collection of urban gardens, pop-up allotments, flowering meadows, spill out cafes, demonstration areas, kids play; all built by community volunteers.

Collectively, we were also keen to establish the festival ‘map’ which interprets the rich source of exhibition ideas and creates a collection of twelve creative event identities. Together these event locations tell the story of the festival and create a hub of community activity, encouraging interactivity and setting in place a rich and satisfying, memorable festival experience.

We wait with bated breath for the festival to open and hope that the exhibitions, plants and experiences create a legacy for the people, places and spaces of Manchester.

For more information about BDP and the fantastic that work that they do both nationally and internationally, please see


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from the Very Reverend Rogers Govender Dean of Manchester

Dear followers

We’re very honoured to have spoken with The Very Reverend Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester about Dig the City. Manchester Cathedral is one of the key driving forces behind the festival. Rogers told us:

“Dig the City’ is a fantastic Flower Festival to be held at Manchester Cathedral at the end of July this year. I am extremely pleased that the Festival will extend to other venues around the Cathedral especially Manchester Arndale, Harvey Nichols and the National Football Museum.

“Exchange Square will also be part of the overall festival with its own Olympic theme. The now pedestrianised Victoria street in front of the Cathedral will also feature urban gardens and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Garden, which was arranged at Albert Square for her recent visit to the city, will be rebuilt on the Dig the City festival site.

“This festival will be the first urban flower festival in a major UK city and we hope will become an annual event, attracting many thousands of people into the city centre to celebrate the beauty and designs that will be featured.

“The theme at the Cathedral is around ‘Music through the Ages’ and is intended as a fundraiser for our new Organ. I am deeply indebted to our numerous sponsors, our partners in the city, and to our staff especially Anthony O Connor and Michelle Bennett for their help in organising this fantastic event.

“Please tell your friends about this festival and I look forward to welcoming you to the Cathedral and the city for this wonderful experience of colour, beauty, fun and friendship this summer!”

In addition to the flower festival within the Cathedral, don’t forget that we have a wide range of displays and activities in the surrounding area. See our website for what’s on, and follow us on twitter @digthecity for updates and news.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
photo gallery
todays weather in manchester
19° C
Mostly Cloudy