It wasn’t the greatest of days in terms of weather when we arrived at the Floral Clock. It was an overcast day, but we were nevertheless excited to be there. Upon arrival, they were maintaining the grounds. The gardeners were busy looking after the rows of tulips that greeted you on your way to the clock and the lawns were being mowed. A bus had just departed, loaded with tourists and another would eventually arrive 30 mins later- something that has been probably going on for over 60+ years.
We were thrilled to finally get a view of this much talked about attraction and were even more excited when we discovered what was behind the clock itself.
The Floral Clock, a free attraction, was built in 1950 and is one of the largest floral clock in the world at 12.2 metres (40 feet) in diameter.
The hands of the clock are stainless steel tubing: the hour hand is 14.5 ft, the minute hand 17.5 ft and the second hand 21 ft long. Their combined weight is 1,250 pounds. An ivy-clad, louvered stone tower stands 24 feet tall and contains speakers that every quarter hour broadcast Westminster chimes. Under the clock, accessed by a door at the rear of the tower, the concrete foundation includes three small rooms – one for the clock mechanism and its driving motor, one contains switches to supply the electrical power, and one stores the tools required for maintaining the floral face. The clock mechanism runs in a bath of oil. The mechanical workings are driven by a 5 HP DC motor supplied from a DC drive. A tachometer is mounted on the motor shaft and provides feedback to the drive to control its accuracy.
The Westminster chimes are controlled by a programmable logic controller. The sounds are simulated and are broadcast through 2-25 watt co-axial speakers mounted in the bell tower.