Brussels’ Green Thumb
Emory University may not have a football team, but they do have the Dalai Lama as a professor. And that means that while going to college at Emory, I got to watch this happen multiple times. Stepping into the room where a mandala is being worked on feels like stepping into a beehive. The gold and red-robed monks circle around the table in a wordless dance. Their chak-purs buzz in a low hum as they lay out perfect lines and patterns so gracefully you’d think it’s instinct guiding them instead of memory. It’s captivating.
So you can imagine my excitement this morning when I stumbled across this:
The lovely Hotel Marivaux, in Brussels, Belgium, located walking distance from Grand Place in a former cinema, is currently creating a flower display on the facade of their hotel, based on their vintage Breakfast at Tiffany’s cinema poster. Celebrating the 2010 Brussels Flower Carpet and Belgium’s role as the world’s largest begonia producer, all of the fresh flowers in Marivaux’s display were grown in Belgium. After oohing and ahhing at the 200 square meter display, hotel guests and Audrey Hepburn enthusiasts can shake off the mean reds with a divinely and utterly happy brunch, followed by a showing of the 1961 movie in Marivaux’s stylish theatre.
So what exactly is a flower carpet? Every two years, the city of Brussels stretches 2,000 square meters of fresh flowers, begonia by begonia, across their central square, Grand Place. No soil is used to hold the flowers down, and they are packed so tightly that they create their own microclimate, staying bright and colorful for days. Past flower carpets have replicated the design of Chinese Sinkiang carpets, Versailles gardens (with actual fountains), Art Nouveau stained glass and, in 2000, a stunning ancient inlaid table covered with a table runner in Brussels’ lace.
Read and see more after the jump.
This year’s theme commemorates the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. The design and layout of each flower carpet takes months to prepare, but the final product is assembled by 100 expert gardeners in just four hours – which means they should be finishing up right about…
- Nat Geo Expeditions
And if you can get to Belgium within the next five hours, you’ll make it in time for the fireworks and concert that celebrate the Flower Carpet’s grand opening. Flower Carpet 2010 will remain open to the public for the next three days, August 13th to the 15th, with sound and light shows every evening (see below). The Town Hall will also be open to visitors these three days (9 a.m. to 11 p.m.) offering panoramic views from its balcony.
Photos: Laurence Peters / Gaston Batistini / A.S.B.L.