The famed flower carpet at Brussels' Grand Place (Grote Markt), has been unfurled in anticipation of the city's five-day celebration of floral decorations. The flower carpet has been a part of the Belgian capital city's traditions since 1971, when the first such carpet, consisting of thousands of begonias, was laid out. Every year since then, in August, over 750,000 flowers (usually begonias) are packed together to form a carpet at the Grand Place.
The flower carpet is spread across almost 20,000 sq ft and is placed right in the center of the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which already draws thousands of tourists independent of the flower attractions.
Celebration of Horticulture
The charming tradition of creating sophisticated flower carpet designs and vibrant colours is also seen as a celebration of the spirit of horticulture artistry. The techniques involved in the making of this floral tapestry reflect the mastery of hundreds of gardeners and horticulturists. According to the official Web site of the Grand Place flower carpet, the flowers are tightly packed, to prevent them from being blown away by the wind, but without the use of soil. Moreover, these flowers create their own microclimate.
"The spaces between the floral patterns will already have been filled with rolled turf. In heat waves, the turf has to be watered to prevent it from shrinking, but if the weather is too wet, the grass can grow 4 to 5 centimeters in 3 days," a statement on the Website reads.
Brussel's Grand Place flower carpets are usually made of begonias because these flowers are known for their sturdiness and ability to survive bad weather. Few other varieties of flowers can retain their freshness to the degree the begonia can, for five days at a stretch. Given the fact that Belgium cultivates 60 million begonia tubers every year and is recognized as the world's largest producer, the flower carpets in Brussels has also become a means to promote the begonia.
Check out some photographs of the Brussels' Grand Place 2012 flower carpet...