Manchester's first Garden City project gets under way

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Artist impression of the Garden City project in Manchester
Image caption,
The Garden City project is looking for five similar sites in Manchester

Work has started on Manchester's first Garden City scheme, part of a longer term campaign to make the city greener.

A site on the banks of a canal in Piccadilly Basin will be transformed with wild flowers and vegetable plots.

Discussions are under way to identify five similar locations around the city centre.

Meanwhile, organisers are looking for volunteers to help prepare the first area for planting in May.

Bees and butterflies

On the edge of the Northern Quarter, a drab section of the Rochdale Canal between two car parks is about to undergo a significant change.

Sun-loving annuals, vegetables and herbs will be planted on the south side of the canal while the opposite bank will see poppies, camomile and cornflowers to provide a haven for native butterflies, bees and dragonflies.

"We're hoping it will make it look far more attractive," said Gary Ellis, Operations Director of Manchester's city centre management company, CityCo.

"The plan is to install some trellises, we're going to soil up the bankings and then we're going to put in runner beans, sweet peas, sage, chives and also incorporate plants and shrubs that have autumn colours and spring flowers.

"The barges go through here in the summer so the idea is to create a point of interest for visitors to remain in the area for a bit."

Manchester Garden City is a voluntary project set up by CityCo and local design firm BDP to 'green' brownfield sites and encourage gardening and sustainable eating.

Joe Weeks, a Northern Quarter resident and one of the first volunteers, explained why he was backing the scheme.

"Manchester, being the first industrial city in the world, there's always been a lack of green spaces," he said.

"So I think that anything that introduces more green spaces, more places to relax in a nicer environment and increase the biodiversity, is a great idea."

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