A special relationship has blossomed between the staff of an historic home and pupils of a school.
The fruits of their labours are set to be a one of the highlights of the Isle of Man Flower Festival next week.
Milntown, just outside Ramsey on the Lezayre Road, is a participating venue in the festival for the first time this year and the famous gardens of the historic home will feature displays from the pupils of Bunscoill Rhumsaa in a partnership that it is hoped will bloom for years to come.
Visitors to Milntown will see displays from every year at Bunscoill Rhumsaa and the Star Centre, with everything from a recreation of Tynwald Hill to an Olympic theme and depictions in the school colours.
Head gardener Juan Quane said the pupils had enjoyed preparing for the festival, which runs from Juy 5-11.
‘They have all been very excited about it,’ he said. ‘Most of them have been here about twice a month.
‘A lot of them are so enthusiastic. It has been really worthwhile.’
Bunscoill Rhumsaa head teacher David Jenkins said: ‘The children have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside our friends at Milntown, who have been so enthusiastic and helpful in sharing their expertise, and I’m sure the children’s displays at the gardens will be enjoyed by the whole community.’
Milntown’s gardens and the historic house have become a major attraction in the Isle of Man. For centuries it was the home of the powerful Christian family. The current house dates from the mid-1750s but it is on the site of a dwelling dating back to the early 16th Century.
The last owner of the house, Sir Clive Edwards, bequeathed it to the Manx nation and it is run by the charitable trust that he established.
While the Flower Festival displays are on the fee-paying side of the gardens at Milntown, children are being allowed in for free for the duration of the festival.
The gardens are open daily, except Tuesdays, while tours of the house are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, visit the website milntown.org
The partnership between Milntown and a neighbouring school is the perfect embodiment of this year’s festival theme, which is Our Community.
A wide range of events will take place across the participating venues throughout the week, to complement the many impressive flower displays.
Flower Festival committee chairman Judy Matthews said: ‘We are very excited about this year’s festival.
‘Milntown’s participation, in conjunction with Bunscoill Rhumsaa, is a new development that we hope will open the festival to even more visitors.
‘All our volunteers around the Island have been working extremely hard in the run-up to this festival and we hope to see many visitors at the many different venues.’
This year the photographic competition will accept only digital entries, up to a maximum of four per person. The theme is Our Community and pictures must have been taken in one of the festival venues.
Programmes for the festival, supported by Culture Vannin, are available from a variety of outlets.
The official list of venues is St Mary de Ballaugh, Ballaugh; St Patrick’s Church, Jurby; St Andrew’s Church, Andreas; Milntown; The Grove Museum, Ramsey; Trinity URC, Ramsey; Ramsey Independent Methodist Church; Christ Church Dhoon, Glen Mona; Christ Church, Laxey; Onchan Elim Pentecostal Church; Onchan Methodist Church; St Matthew’s Church, Douglas; The Abbey Church, Ballasalla; The Nautical Museum, Castletown; Port Erin Methodist Church; St Peter’s Church, Cregneash; St German’s Cathedral, Peel.
Opening times at venues vary, so it is worth checking the website www.flowerfestival.im or the programme for full details of opening times and other events.
Keep up to date with events at www.flowerfest.im
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