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Brussels in Bloom - Carpet of Flowers
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flowerCarpet2006rotatingStarsThe magnificent Flower Carpet is spectacularly unfurled every other year in the center of Brussels' Grand Place, one of the world's most beautiful plazas. This is a "live rug" masterpiece with an extraordinary design composed of snugly-packed blooms. That is about 300 begonias per square meters, which means approximately 750,000 flowers for the whole carpet, which covers an amazing 19,000 square feet.

The "magic carpet" has fountains enclosed in the pattern to help keep the flora in bloom during the high August heat. This monumental "weaving of the carpet" requires a year of design, scale models, calculations of the number of flowers and color combinations, a life-size drawing and then the outlines drawn right on the ground. The result is an exceptional tableau of beauty and art. Over 100 experienced gardeners, artists and hundreds of volunteers are able to plan, design, coordinate and then lay down the carpet, with each flower placed by hand and packed together one by one without soil, within a remarkably quick four hours.

You can take in the exciting panoramic view of this giant floral extremely colorful "jigsaw" from the Town Hall balcony, which is open from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.

The first Floral Carpet was created in 1971 on the Grand Place by E. Stautemans, a landscape architect and begonia devotee, who had been making simple small live rugs from begonias since the 1950s. He eventually realized that floral carpets, especially on such a renowned public square, would be an excellent vehicle for the promotion of his beloved begonias.

Because of its resistance to strong sunshine and bad weather, the begonia guarantees the freshness and long life of the Flower Carpet. There is a rich range of colors from delicate pastels to vivid blooms along with the white flowers that reflect the light so well.

The begonia is used in pageants, floral corsages and by homeowners to brighten their flower beds and window sills. Belgium, the world s largest producer, cultivates 60 million begonia tubers every year, and 80 percent are exported mainly to France, The Netherlands and the United States as the best customers.