Manchester Art Gallery

The Lost Gardens of Manchester

A unique garden installation that showcased the city's rich gardening heritage over the last four centuries.

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 2 April 2015–Sunday 13 September 2015

Produced by the National Trust, The Lost Gardens of Manchester was created by a team led by the Trust’s Gardener in Residence and 30 volunteers using 10 tonnes of compost and 500 flowers and plants including foxgloves, peonies and dream like grasses. The installation took 12 days to create.

Sean Harkin, National Trust gardener in residence said: “With the help of volunteers and local historians we delved into the past of Manchester’s major former gardens and came up with various ideas for conjuring up their beauty and sensory elements within the gallery space.”

We took as inspiration the bountiful orchards of Shudehill from 1753, the palatial glasshouses and grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Old Trafford and the Belle Vue Zoological gardens which were both at their peak in the mid Victorian era; all set against the historic architecture of the building to create stunning spaces for visitors to sit and enjoy.

For the opening there was a magical display of orchids inside the stairwell of the gallery and plenty of Juneberry and Cherry blossom throughout the spring. The displays evolved over the course of the year to reflect the changes in the seasons.

Farewell to The Lost Gardens event

Manchester Art Gallery – Thursday 10th September- 5pm-8pm (Gallery open till 9pm)

The National Trust bids farewell to the Lost Gardens of Manchester

With the Lost Gardens of Manchester exhibit soon to come to a close please join us for an evening celebrating Manchester’s garden treasures of yesteryear. At 7pm, historian Ann Brooks will be delivering a talk entitled Manchester’s forgotten Royal Botanical Gardens. In addition, throughout the evening there will be the chance to handle some of the old and rare items from Manchester Archives collections related to Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and Piccadilly Gardens. The evening will be a chance to catch the Lost Garden exhibit before it finishes and remember Manchester’s rich gardening heritage.


The Lost Gardens of Manchester © Clement Neveu
Sean Harkin, National Trust gardener in residence © Clement Neveu