Carpet bedding at Waddesdon
Each year we change the colour and design of the large bed behind the South Fountain on the parterre, linking it to an exhibition or part of the collection. But how does this get created?
A planted carpet
The theme for our carpet bedding this year is inspired by our summer exhibition in the Coach House 'Creatures and Creations: art by Platon H and designs by Mary Katrantzou inspired by Rothschild species'. The design is by Platon H based on the flame lily 'Gloriosa superba Rothschildiana'.
The bed is made up of some 26,365 tiny plants specifically chosen for their compact habit to create a living mosaic. In fact the French name for carpet bedding is Mosaiculture.
This year's design will be a pixelated view of the Manor.
Creating the design
Our suggested design for the carpet bed is sent to a company called Kernock Park Plants who have developed a system to scan the design onto a special computer programme. Each plant is awarded with a dot and recreated in a picture, very much as pixels create a scene on the television.
The computer divides this picture into small manageable pieces, about the size of an A4 seed tray, and for each piece creates a template with the types of plants indicated by colour coded dots. Nursery staff then use this template to plant up special trays. These trays closely resemble carpet tiles.
Growing the plants
The growing requirements, vigour and hardiness of the plants need to be carefully appriased for stability. Some plants are allowed to produce a controlled amount of flowers and others to be manicured on almost a weekly basis.
How long does it take?
What used to take three people three weeks to complete, today takes a team of four gardeners, only one day to reassemble and the effect is instantaneous.