Creative floral displays enjoyed by thousands of people every year are this time paying homage to the achievements of inspirational women in history.

Queen Victoria and the women’s suffrage movement in the UK are the themes for the Council’s summer bedding programme in Newcastle town centre. The Queen Victoria statue in the stunning Queen’s Gardens will overlook a patriotic display of palm-like shrubs surrounded by red, blue and yellow begonias and lobelias – the colours of the Royal Standard – to celebrate her 200th birthday.

Pupils from St. Giles’ and St. George’s Academy and residents from the Belong village have recently transformed a nearby flower bed with myrtle and other plants reflecting the Victorian era. Myrtle has been grown at Osborne, Queen Victoria’s holiday home, for around 170 years and is traditionally used in royal wedding bouquets to this day.

Queen Victoria, the second longest reigning monarch in UK history, ruled England at the height of the British Empire and became a symbol of great power. The Victorian era is known as a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific and military change.

Elsewhere the 100th anniversary of some women finally being given the right to vote – after many years of campaigning by suffragettes – is being commemorated at the Grosvenor Gardens near Morrisons. Shades of begonias, coleuses, heliotropes and petunias have been carefully chosen to represent the suffragette’s colour scheme of purple for loyalty and dignity, white for purity and green for hope.

The planting scheme which started on Tuesday 4 June, will see beds, hanging baskets,
tubs and troughs in Newcastle and Kidsgrove town centres spring into life with an eye- catching assortment of bright blooms. Community Payback members have given the tubs in Newcastle a makeover by painting them in a dark grey colour and council gardeners are planting begonias and petunias in the flower bed at the Jack Beech Memorial Garden opposite Kidsgrove Town Hall.

Newcastle town centre is the final stop for Heart of England in Bloom judges during their tour of the borough on 17 July. Newcastle-under-Lyme is competing in the small city category of the regional competition after a momentous 2018 which saw it sweep the board in the regionals and represent the area in the illustrious “Champion of Champions” section of the national UK Bloom finals.

Cllr. Mark Holland, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “The Council has provided a summer planting scheme for a long time. Newcastle is renowned for the exceptional quality of its floral displays which are not only enjoyed by residents and workers but also attract shoppers and visitors to the area. The Queen’s Gardens and Grosvenor Gardens in Newcastle are part of the Britain in Bloom judging route so great efforts are now made to link the bedding design with the borough’s annual campaign. The cost of running it is met by sponsorship from local businesses in recognition of the value they place on trading in such a pleasant environment. We never seem to be short of excellent themes and this year is no exception – women’s suffrage became a national movement in the Victorian era. Queen Victoria continues to be an inspirational figure. Her statue is the fitting focal point of our beautiful Queen’s Gardens.”

Green-fingered residents play a major part in Britain in Bloom by entering Council-run competitions.


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