Help to grow a garden for Manchester

by Alice Wright

Half a million seeds are being given away across Manchester this bank holiday weekend so gardeners can make their own contribution to a crowd-grown garden in the heart of the city.

Dig the City, Manchester’s summer garden festival, will give away 1,000 free packets of seeds in city centre shops. Gardeners are invited to plant the seeds, and then bring back the flowers they have grown to add to the Dig Garden.

Dig the City is the UK’s biggest urban gardening festival and this year it has collaborated with celebrity gardener Sarah Raven to get the city growing.

Sarah said: “Dig the City is a fantastic summer festival, and I love the idea of a garden filled with flowers grown by a thousand locals.

“We’re giving away a mixture of cornflowers, poppies, lace flowers and cosmos, so the garden will be wonderfully bright and colourful.”

Nelson Beaumont Laurencia, Dig the City Producer, said: “Dig the City is all about celebrating summer in the city, so what better way to get started than to grow your own garden party?

“Gardeners should bring their blooms back on the first weekend of the festival and help us grow a garden right in the heart of the city.

“You’ll be in with a chance to win good things from the city centre’s top shops. If keen gardeners would like to bring any other flowers or plants to join our Dig Garden they would be most welcome!”

The free seeds will be given away from Selfridges, Jigsaw, LK Bennett, Molton Brown and Barclays in the city centre over the May bank holiday weekend.

Gardeners can check for growing tips and send progress reports to @digthecitymcr using #diggarden.

Blooms should be brought back to the Dig the City Information Point in St Ann’s Square over the first weekend of the festival, which runs from Friday July 31st to Thursday August 6th.

Dig the City is run by CityCo, on behalf of the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID) – a consortium of more than 380 city centre retailers.

Speaking about the Dig Garden, the BID’s Chair Jane Sharrocks said: “Dig the City is not only about gardening and growing, but encouraging locals to take time to relax and spend time in the city centre. We hope the new garden will make Manchester a lovelier place to shop and enjoy all our great city has to offer.”

For more information about the Dig Garden and where to get your seeds, go to and follow @digthecitymcr on Twitter.

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