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A Look at Belgium's Flower Carpets, Made of 750,000 Stems

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Every two years since the 1970s, gardeners and volunteers in Belgium have merged the decorative arts and grand, historic architecture by squishing together hundreds of thousands of begonia flowers to make a "live" rug in the middle of Brussels' Grand-Place, the city's central plaza. Planning for the Flower Carpet Festival begins a year out, but thanks to hundreds of volunteers, the actual laying down of the carpet—with each flower placed by hand—takes only about four hours. So how many begonias are there? Well, to keep the carpet from scattering away with the wind, each bloom is packed in snugly, with about 300 begonias per square meter—so that's about 750,000 flowers for the whole rug. It all started with a landscape architect (and veritable begonia devout) in 1971, and ultimately grew into a traveling exhibition; flower carpets have been rolled out in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Buenos Aires. Above: 2010's carpet, meant to honor the appointment of a Belgian, Herman Van Rompuy, as president of the European Union's European Council. The EU logo is visible in the middle, and in the carpet's corners are images of Saint Michael striking down a dragon, apparently a symbol of Belgian strength and protection. More beautiful shots, below.

? The flower carpet of 2008 was inspired by 18th-century French patterns, with garlands of roses, acanthus leaves, and "horns of plenty"—that's like a cornucopia, right?

? If the weather is exceptionally wet—the festival takes place in late summer—the grass that fills in the begonia gaps can grow four to five centimeters in three days. In a heat wave, the carpet has to be watered, or else it will shrink.

· Thousands of FLowers Arranged Into Massive Carpet Designs. [My Modern Met]
· Belgium's Flower Carpet [Official Site]