Birmingham scoops another Gold at Chelsea

By on 19/05/2015 in Culture, Deputy Leader, News

Chelsea display 2015


AS WELL AS SCOOPING A GOLD, Birmingham has been presented with the Diamond Jubilee Award for the best exhibit in the Grand Pavilion.

Birmingham City Council has scooped Gold at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show for the fourth year running for its spectacular display celebrating 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral.

Darren Share, Head of Parks for Birmingham City Council, said: “The team has worked incredibly hard to bring home a Gold from Chelsea. Celebrating 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral has not been without challenges but staff have shown creativity and skill, incorporating structural elements and beautiful flowering plants grown by our expert in-house team.

“The display has once again been entirely sponsored by residents, local businesses and companies with an interest in Birmingham and I can’t thank them enough for their support, as well as the dedicated council staff who have put in so much hard work.

“This continues to show Birmingham as a place of creativity and invention and places us again in the national and international spotlight.”

“300 Years at the Heart” has a spectacular five metre tall floral replica of the cathedral’s bell tower, windows designed by Catherine Ogle, the Dean of Birmingham Cathedral and an uphill water feature replica of the nave of the cathedral. There is also an area dedicated to St Philip, to whom the cathedral is dedicated, with giant loaves and fish.

The team will also be showcasing designs from local fashion students and an award winning hat designer – a nod to the fact St Philip is the patron saint of milliners.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham, said: “We are very proud to be chosen for the theme of Birmingham’s Chelsea display in our 300th year. It’s a great way of promoting the city and raising awareness of the cathedral, its heritage and our life today.

“We’re looking forward to sharing the story of ‘the church that became a cathedral in the town that became a city’ and continuing to work with the great staff of the Parks Department. Everyone will be able to see the display in Cathedral Square, later in July.”

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs until Saturday 23 May.


For media information, pictures or to arrange an interview with Darren Share, Head of Parks, contact Debbie Harrison, Press and PR Officer at Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 4476.

Notes to Editors:

For pics see –

Display features

Theme:  This year’s display celebrates 300 hundred years of Birmingham Cathedral.   From the ‘Church on the Hill’ St. Philips has become the heart of growing community in Birmingham.  St. Philips was opened in 1715 and has been part of Birmingham’s growth and success over the last 300 years.

Sponsor:  The display is completely sponsored by residents, local businesses and companies with an interest in Birmingham.  Individuals have purchased windows commemorating the tercentenary; these will be incorporated into the display.  Afterward they will be presented to individual sponsors at a ceremony at the cathedral when the display is recreated. The windows have been designed by Catherine Ogle, The Dean of Birmingham Cathedral.

Size:  10m x 10m in the Grand Pavilion GPF/1

Elements of the Display:  The display is split into three areas.

Area 1, Physical – the centre piece is a 5 metre tall floral replica of Birmingham’s Cathedral bell tower.  There will be a group of metal pigeons around the tower to depict the ground the cathedral was built upon, known locally as Pigeon Park.  The carpet bedded clock faces on the tower are set to 5:15 and 8:15 representing the years in the 24hr clock. (1715 to 2015).  The centre of the Tower will be the start of the water feature replicating the nave of the Cathedral.  The water will be running up hill before disappearing under an Olive Tree to represent St Philip’s time in Greece.   Nine planted pews will run in parallel to the water feature, one for each Bishop of Birmingham.  An interpretation of the Baskerville Bible, which is held at the Cathedral, will be at the end of the water feature.  Three replica gate posts will be located at each corner and will contain a globe with a vortex water display.

Area 2, St Philip – Birmingham Cathedral is dedicated to St Philip, one of the Apostles of Jesus.  Philip is linked to feeding the 5000 and is often depicted as an elderly saint holding a basket of loaves.  In the display we have recreated the five loaves and two fish to symbolise this event.  The giant wicker fish are based on the John Dory species with their distinctive dark spot.  According to legend this relates to the thumbprint of St. Peter.  There are other metal sea creatures.

Area 3, The Windows – the Cathedral Windows were designed by Edward Burne-Jones.  Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham in 1833 and was a leading Victorian artist.  His works include the East Window with William Morris at Holy Trinity in Sloane Square.  The windows were removed from Birmingham Cathedral during World War 2 by The Birmingham Civic Society, they returned to the Cathedral in 1948.  A representation of one of the angels will be situated under a pair of bells surrounded by predominately pinks and red plantings the main colours used in the windows.  The two bells, one made from wicker and the other carpet bedding represent the bells housed in the Cathedral since 1725.  The eight original bells have been increased to the 12 there is today.  The wicker bell will be above the angel which will be seen through a curtain of water.  Parts of the Cathedrals organ dates back to 1715 and this will be represented by a series of pipes which will project jets of water.

We have also explored the idea of St. Philip being the patron saint of Milliners and have joined up with award-winning hat designer, Birmingham-based Monique Lee.  Monique has designed hats for the stand team and a unique hat to represent the 300 years of Birmingham Cathedral.  Monique is a leader on fashion courses for both Coventry and Birmingham City Universities.  Working with her students they have designed a stand uniform.

Plants used:  All of the flowering plants have been produced and grown in the city’s nurseries and all of the structural plants in the hot house.  Flowering plants include Antirrhinum Arrow vars, Ageratum, Celosia Fresh vars, Celosia Kimono vars, Cosmos sonata vars, Tagetes Durango vars, Nicotiana cuba vars, Zinna Magellan vars, Dahlia Dalina vars, Impatiens New Guinea ColourPower vars, Osteospermum margarita vars, Begonia Amstel vars.

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