It may still be chilly and snowy in some parts of the country, but spring is certainly in the air — and these stunning photos are going to make you want to break out your gardening gloves.
Since 1986, the 19,375-square-foot mosaic of 700,000 intricately arranged begonias comes to life every two years for five days during August in the Grand Place, the central square of the European capital city.
The mastermind behind the idea was landscape architect named Etienne Stautemas. A graduate of the Horticultural College of Ghent, he began to create flower carpets in the early 1950s (he passed away in 1998).
The non-profit association Tapis de Fleurs brings together a committee of professionals (illustrators, graphic designers, landscape architects) who brainstorm projects and create them to scale, with each carpet illustrating a different theme. (Meant to incite conversation about nature, cities, and art, the designs usually incorporate themes based on Belgian history.)
The number of flowers is calculated and the palette of colors is set in stone. When it’s time to get to work, a full-size drawing is created on sheets of micro-perforated plastic that are then laid down atop the cobblestones of the Grand Place. It takes 100 volunteer gardeners about four hours to create the massive carpet, painstakingly arranging the petals by hand.
Scents, colors, lights and sounds all come together to create a floral experience like no other when the Flower Carpet is unveiled every other August, offering visitors the chance to stroll around the perimeter. The extremely detailed wonder is best viewed by a visit to the balcony of the Town Hall, which offers a wide-angle view of the work. A musical theme is also composed for each edition of the Flower Carpet, with a concert taking place on the Grand Place every evening, accompanied by a magnificent light show.
This year’s Flower Carpet takes place August 12-15. For more information visit flowercarpet.be.