The annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show at London's Royal Hospital is known as one of the word’s most famous and elaborate garden shows. This year’s event—which opened yesterday and runs until Saturday, May 28— rolled out a particularly unique red carpet for guests: a fake lawn filled with more than 300,000 crocheted poppies, The Guardian reports.
The expansive fake flower exhibit covers nearly 21,000 square feet of the hospital’s vista. The fiber blossoms aren’t simply ornamental—they also memorialize those who fought at war. Most of the yarn-and-button poppies were crocheted for the 5000 Poppies project, created by Australians Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight to honor their fathers’ military service during World War II.
The two women only meant to make 120 poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Australia, for Remembrance Day in 2013. (Poppies are commonly used as a symbol of remembrance of war in the UK and Canada.) However, an estimated 50,000 people ended up contributing to the project, and famous landscape designer Phillip Johnson collaborated with Berry and Knight to transform the blossoms into a breathtaking installation work, The Express reports.
The massive carpet was originally displayed across the steps of Melbourne’s Federation Square and on Princes Bridge for Anzac Day 2015. Observed on April 25 each year, the holiday serves as a nationwide day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand’s war veterans. Now, the exhibit is on display at the Chelsea Flower Show—and it’s bigger, better, and redder than ever. In addition to the carpets of 300,000 poppies from the Australian project, more than 20,000 additional flowers with stems were created for the installation’s London exhibit and “planted” into the hospital’s lawn.
After the show’s end, the installation will be transported back to Australia to help commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme on July 1. Watch a behind-the-scenes video of the exhibition’s creation above, courtesy of Visit Melbourne.
[h/t The Guardian]
Banner image courtesy of YouTube.