Your visitGroundsArt in the garden

Three-dimensional carpet bedding

Traditional carpet bedding on a flat surface has fascinated people for more than a century. Here at Waddesdon, however, the Rothschilds pioneered the idea of three-dimensional bedding, or sculpture using plants.

It was Miss Alice de Rothschild who first introduced a three-dimensional basket around 1900 at her house on the estate at Eythrope. The form became popular, and sculptural bedding was quickly adopted in parks and public gardens.

Miss Alice's 'basket' c. 1910
Miss Alice's 'basket' c. 1910
3D bird c. 1910
3D bird c. 1910

Today’s birds are a modern version of this Victorian innovation. This year, one of the birds is joined by a magnificent ‘Big Mother Pumpkin’ made by potter Kate Malone in homage to the vegetables grown in the kitchen gardens. It was part of last year’s exhibition Kate Malone: Inspired by Waddesdon.

How it's done

Each sculpture is made of a welded mesh framework over a steel skeleton, containing an internal watering system. This is packed with peat-free compost into which the plants are planted. It is the same principle as a hanging basket but on a larger scale. Each bird needs
around 2,500 plants. The choice of plant is important, since many will not thrive when grown on an angle or upside-down.

Design for 3D bird


The sculptures are in place until October when they will be removed for maintenance and prepared for re-planting over the winter.