About a Tale of Two Cities

Tale of two Cities Children Sowing

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December 2015

A Tale of Two Cities won the Grow Wild England flagship Award in 2014, a UK programme managed by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.  Headed up by the National Wildflower Centre, our project brings together Liverpool and Manchester, championed by both City Councils, the Friends of Everton Park, the National Trust and a wide range of land management, education, community and cultural partners.
In 2015, with a great amount of collective enthusiasm, goodwill and a mix of skills we set about preparing the ground.  The 2016 calendar tells the story of our first exciting year, and of building new creative alliances and collaborations to tell an evolving story, which we can now weave together as a powerful modern Tale.
In our first year we have delivered spectacular displays of colourful wild flower landscapes along the prominent transport routes of Princess Parkway (Manchester) and Islington (Liverpool) and in the landmark green space of Everton Park.  In total our landmark sites make up 10 hectares – the equivalent of 20 football pitches!
As the flowers bloomed en masse for the first time, we shared a sense of adventure for what can happen, showing what a difference collective endeavour, nature and colour can make to the fabric and soul of our cities.  We are grateful to the turnout in September from people who sowed wildflower seeds in Alexandra and Hulme Park for next summer.
This process continues to forge new partnerships linking environment, the arts academia, sports and popular culture, uniting people and communities in both cities to experience, celebrate and respond to the beauty of wildflowers.  2016 holds unlimited promise with more diverse species and more people coming aboard to tell a new Tale of Two Cities! 
Everton Park Wildflowers June 2015


A Tale of Two Cities Liverpool and Manchester is the winning Grow Wild England Landmark Project.  Grow Wild is creating four high profile flagship sites, one in each UK country, and voted for by the public.  A Tale of Two Cities won the public vote in England in November 2014 against very strong and excellent competition.  We are so very proud and excited to have won. 

Our vision is to deliver a unique cultural landmark project in the northwest of England to:

-       redefine wildflower best practice

-       turn people’s heads and hearts

-       inspire new Grow Wild communities

We will sow bold landscapes in both Liverpool and Manchester on a grand scale – about 10 hectares (equivalent to 20 football pitches!), and into the spaces between where we can.  We will unite the people and communities in both cities to experience, celebrate and create Grow Wild adventures.  We will ignite a new generation of wildflower lovers.

A Tale of Two Cities has won £120,000 to achieve this. Liverpool and Manchester will be forging new pathways between environment and culture, using music and arts practice, to bring the beauty of wildflowers to people in intriguing and imaginative ways. Our project will run until 2017.

The Team

A Tale of Two Cities is led by Landlife National Wildflower Centre, Manchester City Council and the Friends of Everton Park. Other key stakeholders are Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Liverpool City Council, National Trust Gardener in Residence Manchester, Land Trust, Hulme Park communities, Southway Homes and Northwest Friends Parks Forum, We aim to involve as many groups and communities as possible in both cities and beyond!

Arts, Music & Communities

 Arts, Music & Communities

Using arts, music and popular science we will build bridges for involvement and excitement around the transformation of public spaces using native wildflowers. Working with the playfulness of music in both cities the project will draw on styles from classical Chinese dub to Manchester soul, with festivals such as Out of the Blue in Everton Park, and Manchester international Festival.  A Tale of Two Cities will also play on the Atlantic link between the cities along the Ship Canal and their trading past.

Redefining Wildflower Practice

Our plan is to deliver great landscapes along Manchester’s Princess Park Road, along Liverpool’s transport corridors, as well as in key parks and greenspaces such as Everton in Liverpool, Hulme and Alexandra in Manchester. Landlife has been pioneering Creative Conservation for 40 years since 1975, set up the National Wildflower centre on Merseyside in 2000 and has three Unesco Man and Biosphere awards for Excellence in Urban Ecology.  Now Big Lottery and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are bringing new energy to this work through their Grow Wild programme and these Flagship Landmark projects.  In the current financial climate and with parks and local authority budgets under severe pressure, A Tale of Two Cities can provide inspiration, practical delivery and new partnerships for communities and nature.

A Tale of Two Cities F.A.Q.

Grow Wild
Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Grow Wild inspires communities, friends, neighbours and individuals across the UK to come together to transform local spaces, by sowing, growing and enjoying native wild flowers. Grow Wild believes that this simple act of creativity can turn spaces into beautiful, inspiring and colourful wildlife havens; encouraging people to care for and delight in the nature around them.

Grow Wild - Big Lottery - Kew Botanical Gardens Logos