Belgians roll out flower power

Belgian flower growers bested the summer's blistering heat to lay out more than half a million blossoms last Thursday at Brussels' famous Grand Place.

On display at the landmark square till yesterday, the floral carpet - measuring 77m by 24m - was made of begonias, dahlias, grass and bark. It was put together in less than four hours by 120 volunteers, said the organisers.

The carpet's design drew inspiration from the Mexican region of Guanajuato, which is known for its rich floral culture and tradition.

For a while, however, the event had seemed almost touch-and-go.

As Europe endured one of its hottest summers on record, organisers worried that the heat would prevent the flowers from blooming.

"It has been extremely difficult," said Belgium-based flower wholesaler Troch Peters last Thursday. "Until 10 days ago, people were afraid that we were not going to have enough flowers. Luckily, in the last two weeks the weather changed, producing new, fresh flowers."

The tradition of the flower carpet dates back to 1971, when Brussels councillors were impressed by similar arrangements in the neighbouring Flanders province and decided to bring it to the city. Since then, the carpet has been laid out every other year, attracting tens of thousands of visitors.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Belgians roll out flower power'. Print Edition | Subscribe