Perry's Perennial Pages

Floral Mosaics 

(MIM2003--Mosaics Internationale de Montreal 2003)
This is the first international competition of floral mosaics-- two- and three-dimensional art and sculptures made of living plants. Many countries are represented, with excellent signage by each exhibit in both French and English, describing the depiction and inspiration. The two dimensional designs are often seen in formal gardens, such as in Europe, but the 3D scuptures are rare.

Only 6 months since its inception to opening, the over 40 exhibits for the first time bring such horticultural art together from both the occidental and oriental traditions. In Asia, particularly Harbin area of China (which was the original inspiration for this competition in the mind of the Dirctor of Parks of Montreal), a master sculptor will do all from the design, to construction, to planting and maintenance. (These are the same artisans who sculpt ice in the winter.) In the West, these duties are split among several specialists. The Chinese mosaics are planted densely at the beginning to look finished. Western mosaics are generally planted with fewer and smaller plants and allowed to grow through the season into a finished dense display.

The over 3 million living plants in these exhibits are maintained daily by over 60 horticulturists trained in this specific culture. Floral mosaics differ from topiary in having individual plants placed in a framework, usually of welded metal, covered with fine netting to contain the growing medium. Topiary, of which some are represented by Disney figures, consist of plants which grow over a framework, usually of metal covered with wider mesh netting and sphagnum moss. Plants must be sheared regularly and watered daily, both from outside and built-in irrigation.

Some of the plants seen in the displays are various foliage colors of Alternanthera, silver succulent Echeverias, silver and green foliage of Santolina, and various bedding plants including marigolds, saliva (red and blue), blue ageratum, and various colors of wax-leaf begonias.

This competition, a true wonder of the plant world, is located in the Old Port area of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the Parc Ecluses near the Science Museum and IMAX. More information on this competition such as admission prices can be found at the MIM website above.

The following 30 photos are only some of the exhibits at MIM2000 to give some idea of this display, and of the floral mosaic artform.  If you have RealMedia you can also watch a 15min. streaming video which aired on Across the Fence.



Begonia tree of 3000 begonias


Charlie Brown and Snoopy in a 2D upright display, created in individual bedding plant trays, then stacked into a metal frame

Chinese dragon 2000 at entrance (many dragons due to the year of the dragon)

Chinese dragon closeup of planting

Chinese dragon with irrigation spray on; the tallest mosaic

Chinese dragon on post

Chinese dragon on rotating globe

Coins, one of several floating Canadian coin depictions, being maintained


Face from one of the exhibits of the native peoples of Canada

Floral clock

Formal design

Formal design closeup

Geese landing in the water

Hand and Heart

Lion and other Disney character topiaries

Palace as seen in Asia

Peacock with tail down, of bedding plants

Peacock with tail upright

Planting a display

Shearing a display

Sailing ship

Silk weaving, depicting a former industry of and from Lyon, France; the network of threads representing the looms and the finished materials at the base of living plants in matching colors

Steam train

Sun in 2D

Sunflowers, in a 2D upright display recreating a painting by Van Gogh

Swans from Boston and the Massachusetts. Horticultural Society

Turtle, one of the displays of the original peoples of Canada, depicting a key living creature to their beliefs, and suggested by a tribal chief on first seeing the existing mound at this site

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