ANCHESTER’S lost gardens are blooming back into life this spring in a major new installation at Manchester Art Gallery.
The National Trust has spruced up the Mosley Street gallery with lush displays of plants and flowers in an homage to the city’s green spaces of yesteryear, including Old Trafford’s Royal Botanical Gardens and Belle Vue Zoological Gardens.
Visitors will be greeted by a magical display of orchids inside the stairwell, before wandering through to discover reminders of the bountiful orchards that occupied Shudehill in 1753, where the city’s main bus interchange now stands.
Other parts of the installation will recall the palatial glasshouses and grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Old Trafford, which welcomed 4.75 million visitors to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.
Belle Vue Zoological gardens will also be rediscovered, which many Mancunians will remember before its closure in 1977.
National Trust gardener in residence Sean Harkin, who led the project, said: “The Lost Gardens will evolve over the course of the year and reflect the changes to the seasons.
“Plants have been selected to give the true sense of what it would have felt like in each of the gardens and we have commissioned handpainted old signs similar to the ones people would have seen at Belle Vue and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
“Visitors will be amazed by the sheer scale of the installation and will be able to enjoy the sights and smells of the plants, relax amid the foliage and find themselves a world away from the hustle and bustle of today’s Manchester.”
The Lost Gardens of Manchester is on view now until the end of October, when it will close with a display of pumpkins for Hallowe’en.
Maria Balshaw, director of Manchester City Galleries and The Whitworth, said: “We are delighted to be partnering the National Trust who have produced this spectacular project.