The Green House

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A flashback to the days of the Liverpool garden festival

The United Kingdom has a long tradition when it comes to holding garden festivals. These celebrations are like no other because they are a combination of blooming flowers and fun activities. The fact is that most exhibitions have a story, so that crossing the ocean just to view one of the magnificent displays of nature is totally worth the effort. Probably the most important event in the calendar of all horticulture passionate used to be the garden festival Liverpool or the International Garden Festival. Not only was this the very first event of this kind, but it became a model for several others. However, in time this highly important exhibition site started to deteriorate, the result being that now the exhibition remains only a good memory.

How did it all start?

The International Garden Festival first took place in the year of 1984 on a site adjacent to the River Mersey. The main purpose of the exhibition was to give tourism a boost since the city of Liverpool was not that popular at the time. The one that came up with the idea was actually the Conservative Environment Minister that wanted to put an end to the industrial decline of the time. But what was the result of all the efforts? Well, the celebration was so successful that it managed to attract a number of millions of visitors, all of them interested in the mixture of ornamental gardens and various floral displays. Besides the natural attractions, pieces of public artworks were scattered at the site, thus transforming it into an appealing place.

When the festival closed its doors

Despite the huge success of the exhibition, the doors still closed in 1985 due to the fact that a significant portion of the site was transformed into a residential neighbourhood. The gardens that used to be so popular quickly underwent regeneration projects. The ultimate goal was to transform the entire area into a place of entertainment and leisure facilities. Although there were some attempts to keep the site viable for as long as possible, all the efforts were in vain. The area developed into a desolate one and it remained as such for many years at an end. While the owners of the site did try to propose some courses of action, they were not particularly appealing to the city and the site deteriorated even more.

The festival is back in bloom

The good news is that after almost 27 years of decay, the exhibition is to be restored to its former glory. The restoration project was finally complete in the year 2011. The exhibition that is now open to the public includes a fully restored Japanese garden, a pagoda and of course a moon wall.  The main difference is that in addition to the 60 patches, new access routes will be included.  Regardless of all the plan, nature was ultimately left to take its course. The result is that now the gardens have an almost unique ecosystem formed of a combination of flora and fauna.

Thanks to the ambitious project it is not necessary to live in the past anymore. There is no more then, but the beauty of the present.

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