A floral 3D bishop’s mitre, St Cuthbert’s Cross and colourful display of butterflies are set to brighten up Durham city this summer.

Durham County Council, in partnership with Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP) and Durham Business Improvement District (BID,) has funded three 3D floral features as part of the city’s entry into the regional Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Northumbria in Bloom competition.

The bishop’s mitre will greet thousands of visitors and residents to the city’s Market Place, while the St Cuthbert’s Cross display will be on show at Palace Green – just a short distance from Durham Cathedral, home to the Shrine of St Cuthbert.

The bishop’s mitre celebrates County Durham’s unique heritage dating back to 1075 when the Bishop of Durham became a Prince Bishop. In return for protecting England’s northern frontier, the Prince Bishops had power to raise armies, levy taxes and mint coins and were considered as ‘Kings of County Durham’.

The 3D floral butterfly beds are located at Leazes Bowl roundabout, where two new flowerbeds have been created as a result of changes to the road layout.

The display has been designed to reflect a traditional Victorian planting scheme with sub-tropical plants and other foliage such as tender and hardy palms, banana, New Zealand flax, red dahlias and ornamental grasses surrounding the sculptures.

The butterflies, which are intended to look as though they are flying about the plants, are joined by carved wooden bees and ladybirds.

Oliver Sherratt, head of direct services at Durham County Council, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the 3D floral displays back to Durham City. The reaction and feedback last year was excellent so we’re really pleased to commission the displays again in partnership with Durham AAP and Durham BID.

“The St Cuthbert’s Cross display reflects upon the city’s legacy and aptly symbolises the shrine of St Cuthbert, while the Bishop’s Mitre links back to our roots and history. The butterfly display on Leazes Bowl roundabout bring a touch of the exotic to one of the major gateways to the city.

“We are grateful to Durham University for allowing us to display the St Cuthbert’s Cross installation on their premises and we would like to thank them for their continued support for our In Bloom campaigns.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local communities, said: “Both of the floral creations are showstoppers and help make our wonderful city look even greener.

“We’re sure they will prove popular with the people who visit, live and work in Durham – as well as the RHS Northumbria in Bloom judges when they visit the city later this month.”

Steve Andsell, Horticulture Manager at Durham University added: “It is a pleasure to work with Durham County Council and Durham AAP again this summer in support of the spectacular floral installation at Palace Green. We’re confident that visitors will appreciate and enjoy both displays in the city.”

People can see the floral displays at Durham Market Place and Palace Green until mid-September.

All installations will be viewed as part of the RHS judges’ route when they visit Durham on Tuesday, 18 July.

Durham City is taking part in the Small City category of Northumbria in Bloom, having won Gold and overall category winner in the ‘Champions of Champions’ category in 2016.

The city also won Gold in the ‘Champions of Champion’s category of Britain in Bloom last year.

Results of this year’s Northumbria in Bloom competition will be announced on 13 September.

To find out more about the In Bloom campaigns visit www.durham.gov.uk/inbloom

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