Dig the City, Manchester’s urban gardening festival

A blooming dress made entirely of flowers by Manchester Florist Lisa Dickinson of Venus, worn by Bos

A blooming dress made entirely of flowers by Manchester Florist Lisa Dickinson of Venus, worn by Boss Model Eleanor Davies to launch Dig the City, Manchester’s urban gardening festival. Photos by Phil Tragen. - Credit: Phil Tragen

A magnificent dress made entirely of flowers opens Dig the City 2013, 3 – 11 August

An incredible dress, made entirely of flowers, opens this year’s Dig the City festival in Exchange Square in Manchester city centre. Lisa Dickinson owner of Manchester florist Venus Flowers and her team of four florists took over a week to plan and create the magnificent dress. The dress was worn by model Eleanor Davies, from the agency Boss Models. Hair and Makeup provided from Bobbie Brown at Selfridges and Hair by GHD Selfridges.

“The challenge was to keep the dress looking fresh for as long as possible, the trick to making the dress endure was to use flowers that wouldn’t wither and die after a few hours, so I made the full skirt of the dress out of wax flowers—which is a really tough shrub—but with delicate sprays of flower heads,” explains Lisa Dickinson.

“I must admit, when we got the brief to make the dress I was a little daunted about how to put it all together—but once we got started on the planning it was really liberating and hugely fun. It really stretching the boundaries of floristry, and it is thrilling to think creatively. You see the potential of flowers in another light.”

“Dig the City is such a great event for Manchester, the whole city; residents, businesses and shops should flower up – a greener city is something we can all get behind.”

The dress was unveiled in the festival’s temporary forest in Exchange Square, a unique spectacle featuring 16 varieties of fully mature tree. The forest is sponsored by NOMA, The Co-Operative’s 20 acre redevelopment of the north of Manchester city centre – where the trees will be moved to after the event. NOMA has a commitment to finding new ways for the city to be developed in a green and sustainable way.

Dig the City is an ambitious and large-scale event that comes hot on the heels of Manchester International Festival and a strong summer of arts, music and public events across the city. The nine day festival features talks by celebrity TV gardeners Monty Don, Rachel De Thame, and Matt James ‘The City Gardener’. Attractions include an artisan food market, stunning art installations by US artist Jason Hackenwerth, the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾” campaign for kids and tree house, craft and horticultural markets, and an urban twist on a traditional country fete.

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