Manchester flower show 2022 – 1

This year’s Manchester flower show has been taking place over the long four-day weekend, with many displays themed to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Thursday was also my birthday and as I would be alone for most of the day I decided to take myself off for a bit of photography round the city centre while the displays were fresh. An early train got me into Manchester just after 8.30am and though some of the displays were still being set up I was able to photograph a lot of them before the place started to get busy.
First on my list, and not far from the station, was The Buzz, a series of large bee-themed street planters on the pavement outside the Printworks. Decorated by Giraffe Flowers they were filled with honey bees’ favourite plants and flowers to act as foraging and pollination stations, though I hope the bees like them as personally I found them rather dull and colourless.
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The Buzz
On the ground floor of the Arndale shopping centre was The Crown, a huge crown-shaped planter supposedly filled with (quote) “a colourful mix of tropical palms and jewel-like English flowers” but the flowers I saw bore no resemblance to the brightly coloured ones featured in the internet photo. Also on the ground floor, outside the Morphe store was a display of three floral dresses made from scraps of fashion waste fabric and part of a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University fashion students, local charity shops and fashion stores, and the team behind Manchester International Fashion Festival. On the upper floor of the centre was Queen Bee, a display used last year but now upcycled with the addition of a floral crown designed by Frog Flowers.
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The Crown
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Queen Bee
Across the road the Corn Exchange atrium had its inner archways decorated with floral displays featuring pretty tea cups and saucers, a nearby Greek restaurant sported a colourful entrance and Exchange Square, where all the weekend’s entertainment would be, was looking exceptionally bright with its flower-topped cabins, yellow railings and painted picnic tables.
The Queen’s Tea Party
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Round the corner in New Cathedral Street I found The Queens Gambit, a display using black and white crates filled with black and white plants, with the design being inspired by a chess board where the queen is the most powerful piece, although the nearby wheelbarrow was anything but black and white. Further along the street last year’s psychedelic Pop Art arch was surrounded by flower-filled planters and wheelbarrows with the design partly inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1960s pop portraits of Her Majesty.
The Queen’s Gambit

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Also in New Cathedral Street was the Flower Power Perch utilising flowers grown in the North West, and the Commonwealth Tuk-tuk nicknamed Queenie. The customised Indian tuk-tuk is a tribute to all those nations who call our Queen their head of state and is decorated with blue and purple flowers grown in Cheshire.
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The Flower Power Perch
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The Commonwealth Tuk-tuk
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Round the corner in Market Street were the knitted trees, this year decked out alternately with British colours and those of Ukraine, then across in Exchange Street the Fatface clothing store had a small display with colours matching the outfits on the models, while the nearby HSBC bank in St. Ann’s Square had a red, white and blue display in the corner window although there was so much light reflection through the glass it was difficult to get a decent photo of it.
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In the Royal Exchange Arcade I found the Crown Jewels, a display commissioned by the Royal Exchange itself and featuring a golden throne surrounded by a combination of fresh and dried flowers. Back out on St. Ann’s Square was the Jubilee Urban Garden with three native trees and raised beds of cottage garden plants and flowers – quoted as being ”the star of the show” I personally found it to be anything but as this was another display which sadly lacked any real colour.
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The Crown Jewels
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Jubilee Urban Garden
Not far from there was Journey to Kimpton, a 3-wheeled bicycle decked out in Jubilee-coloured plants and flowers with the concept being that the bicycle was perfect for a leisurely ride through the city to the Kimpton Clock Tower Hotel, advocates of sustainable travel and tourism.
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Journey to Kimpton
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The best display in St. Ann’s Square, for me at least, was the red, white and blue themed Changing of the Guard. Inspired by Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square the installation was designed and created by Northern Quarter florists Frog Flowers and was far superior to the Urban Garden display.
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Changing of the Guard
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Apparently one of the first things the Queen did when she ascended the throne was to modernise the British telephone box with an updated version of the Tudor crown design, and at the bottom end of King Street was last year’s iconic red telephone kiosk, this time filled with red, white and blue flowers but to be honest I was less than impressed. A world away from the vibrant artificial blooms of last year these were dull, drab, and looked like they had been dragged up from the bottom of a bin.
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Jubilee Kiosk
With a woodland planter containing a native tree and a bug hotel, a wildflower planter and a pollinator planter providing food for bees and butterflies the Climate Resilient display further up King Street showed how it’s possible to be eco-friendly in the smallest of spaces.
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Climate resilient garden
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The Seedling to Bouquet display was inspired by a time-lapse photography sequence and follows the path of a tiny seedling as it grows, blooms, and finds its place in a colourful arrangement of British cut flowers. All the flowers on display were grown in the UK with many being nurtured by North West members of Flowers from the Farm, while others came from growers in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
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Seedling to Bouquet
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Further up the street two very tall young ladies with extremely long legs and dressed as butterflies were providing a silent display, continually opening and closing their wings in unison. From the back the open wings looked quite spectacular but unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of them as every time I pointed the camera the ‘butterflies’ turned round the other way.
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At the top end of that section of King Street was Horse Play, a one-off display created by Twig Twisters in recognition of the Queen’s love of horses. Capturing a horse and rider in motion the sculpture itself was made entirely of twisted willow, and with flower-filled ‘drinking troughs’ at its base the display made a quirky celebration of horse racing and show jumping.
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Horse Play
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Those were to be my last photos taken in and around the main festival zone; the next section of King Street would take me on a quest to find some of the fringe displays but those photos will be in a following post. This post has been scheduled as I’m now away on a 10-day camping holiday in North Wales so my apologies in advance if I don’t reply straight away to any comments – that will be one of the first jobs when I get back.

24 thoughts on “Manchester flower show 2022 – 1

  1. That horse and rider is fabulous and there are some good displays with the red, white and blue theme. Have to admire those two butterflies, that takes some doing! Enjoy your camping trip, I hope the weather improves for you as it’s lashing it down at the moment.

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    1. Quick reply before I leave home 🙂 The two butterflies were great, they had no music but turned round in complete unison every couple of minutes but it just seemed that every time I was ready to take a shot of their fully opened wings they turned round the other way.

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  2. Many happy returns for last Thursday,🎂 🎉 🥳 🎁

    You are right, a very mixed collection of displays. I think my favourite is not even floral though – just love those brightly painted picnic tables but the Tuk-tuk is a close second. Clearly a massive amount of work has gone into it all, and you did really well to get in so early before the crowds.

    Have a safe trip, x

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  3. Wishing you a happy belated birthday. I think with any show like this, there’ll be displays which appeal to some and not so much to others. I agree with you though, some seem to be quite disappointing. I love the willow horse and rider and the arch of flowers at the Royal Exchange Arcade. Have a lovely holiday, I hope you’re getting better weather than we’ve got today, it’s raining here.

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    1. Weather during my holiday was quite mixed, there wasn’t a day without dark grey cloud at some point though when it did come nice it was really lovely.

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    1. Weather during the holiday was quite mixed and I had more than my fair share of aggravations but I survived, and what I didn’t do then just gives me a good excuse to go back there later in the year 🙂

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  4. I hope your birthday was happy and that your holiday will be equally happy! None of those really hit the spot with me, though I like the concept of Queen’s Gambit and it’s definitely different and therefore more interesting than some of the others. And the tuk tuk is pretty. I just like flower displays to be flower displays and not too arty!

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    1. Trekking round Manchester and photographing flower displays was a good way to spend my birthday and I even treated myself to a meal in a cafe – I really do know how to live it up don’t I?! 🙂

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  5. Belated birthday greetings. About the only thing I can think to say at the moment is “WOW” I’m totally gobsmacked by those displays, though pity there weren’t some displays of native flowers from some of the colonies, but so be it. So many of us here still adore the Queen as our head of state. Enjoy your break, take care and hugs.

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    1. Thank you for the belated birthday greetings Susan, I had a lovely day at the flower show and found some really nice displays. I don’t know how anyone would go about doing displays of native flowers from some of the colonies, maybe there are strict rules and regulations about bringing things like that into the UK from other countries.

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  6. Happy belated birthday from me too. My favourites are the Queen Bee, the tuk tuk and the knitted tree covers. Thanks for part 1 of the tour – travel safely!

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    1. Thanks for the belated wishes Susan, I had a lovely day at the flower show. I went to Bodnant Gardens while I was away, the weather that day was perfect and I got dozens of lovely photos.

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    1. Trekking round the flower show was an enjoyable way to spend my birthday. The floral bikes were really pretty, as was the tuk-tuk, and the horse and rider sculpture was very cleverly done.

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  7. Belated Birthday wishes, Eunice!
    The floral displays are lovely, even if some are a little lacklustre. My favourite one is the Tuk-tuk. X

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    1. Thanks for the belated wishes Jules, I had a lovely day out. I thought the tuk-tuk was really cute, I could fancy having one of those but I wouldn’t get my camping gear in one! 🙂

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  8. A belated Happy Birthday to you Eunice. What a nice thing to do on your birthday, you were surrounded by such beautiful displays. I wish I had seen them for real. Hope your enjoying your camping trip. X

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  9. Thanks for the belated Happy Birthday Sharon, I had a lovely day. As for my camping trip, you’ll need to read to the next few posts to see how it went 🙂

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