We are not alone in watching the wild flower areas of Cathedral Gardens developing over recent days. Once they start to grow they seem to change every day, and they will be helped by today’s rain. They have a blue tinge at the moment, as borage is the primary flower, though the poppies and cornflowers are not far behind.
White butterflies were flitting here and there across these mini-meadows on Sunday afternoon as I arrived for Evening Prayer and a young tourist was trying to get them to settle on his arm – nearly succeeding too!
This wildflower planting by Belfast City Council is very successful; not only providing the foreground for many a photo of the Cathedral from the north side, with the Celtic Cross in the background, but encouraging insect and birdlife too – as well as prompting everyone to spend time sitting in one of the few inner-city green spaces beyond the City Hall grounds.
We have more formal planting in Writers’ Square this year, right opposite the West facade of St Anne’s. Let’s hope that it all survives the impact of activity in the Square over the course of the summer, which is important for the vibrancy of the area too and the attraction of people to the Cathedral Quarter generally.
Anecdotally, there appear to be more tourists about, but we await statistics of visitor numbers to the Cathedral for July and August, which are, naturally enough, our main months for those who are including a visit to St Anne’s in their itinerary. For the first six months, visitor numbers have been up on 2016, but not as high as predicted. Having the surroundings of the Cathedral, especially in Cathedral Gardens and Writers’ Square improved, is all to the benefit of us all.
Meanwhile the Deanery garden is soaking up the rainfall this morning, and enjoying every drop. The sweet peas (pictured) are coming into their glory. I planted them when Helen went into hospital in April when I knew that we would still be here for the summer. Now that our dates are set for a September departure they encourage us too; thankful for the lovely and fruitful garden at the deanery and anticipating creating something in a very different garden in Swanage in the years that lie ahead.