Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr. Deirdre Hargey, officially launched National Gardening Week (29th April – 5th May) in Northern Ireland, at the Linen Quarter’s newly installed Flax Field on Bedford Square.

The new urban planting, in the heart of the city, was installed with the help of local primary schoolchildren from St. Malachy’s Primary.

The installation, commissioned by the Linen Quarter Business Improvement District, includes beautiful new planters and attractive new street-scaping to be enjoyed for years to come.

The area will provide striking new seating for businesses around the square, including Public Health Agency, Invest NI and Tourism Northern Ireland. The centre piece of the installation contains six planters devoted to growing flax between April and June each year, symbolising the area’s famous linen heritage.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey said: “This installation is representative of the major improvements being made throughout the Linen Quarter. I am delighted to be here today to help the very talented gardeners from St Malachy’s Primary School launch National Gardening Week. The new planters are a beautiful addition to Bedford Square which will help improve the city experience, one of the aims of the Belfast Agenda for the city for nearby workers and those sampling the area’s thriving hospitality offerings.”

Chris McCracken, Managing Director of Linen Quarter BID, said Flax Field will contribute to making Bedford Square an attractive area for the local community:

“The Linen Quarter is a historically rich area of Belfast that has so much to offer. LQ BID is working with partners right across the public and private sector to champion the District. Over the next five years, we aim to act as a catalyst to huge improvements in the area’s transport, living, working, and socialising opportunities, and as a first step we are delighted to introduce this urban oasis into the heart of the city. The opportunity to launch National Gardening Week for Northern Ireland at Flax Field is a real indication of the Linen Quarter’s growing popularity.”

Guy Barter, Chief Horticulturalist at Royal Horticultural Society said:

“It is lovely to see National Gardening Week inspiring potential young growers to get involved – it’s clever of them to use flax, the source of linen, which is an important historical crop in Northern Ireland and a lovely flower in its own right, to make the national initiative local. Plants enhance the environment, help purify air, lift people’s spirits, inspire pride in place and history and create places where people want to live – the modern equivalent of the linen industry.”

Diane McIntyre, Health and Wellbeing Improvement Manager at PHA, neighbours on Bedford Square said:

“As part of the Bedford Square community, we are delighted to be a part of the launch of Flax Field. The installation is a great way of bringing people together, here in the Linen Quarter.”

More information about future plans for the Linen Quarter will be available for businesses and residents at its Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2019 – visit https://lq-agm-business-network.eventbrite.co.uk  to find out more.