Floriade 2012 – World Horticultural Expo Garden Tour
Including Keukenhof
April 19th – April 27th, 2012

April 24, Day 6

This morning we departed for Venlo. On our way we stopped and visited Paleis Het Loo. After we had entered we were greeted with the most wonderful sight – a male peacock with his tale up in all its glory…a sight to behold. The Palace is more than three hundred years old, right in the heart of the Netherlands, close to the town of Apeldoorn. The former royal residence has been open to the public since 1984 after undergoing substantial restoration work. The sumptuously furnished interiors give an impression of how the Dutch royal family lived here for three centuries. The reconstructed gardens breathe the atmosphere of their seventeenth century origin with their fountains and elegantly box-lined parterres. The palace’s setting in one of Holland’s most beautiful nature areas makes a visit a real delight at any time of year.

Stadholder William III, great grandson of William of Orange, purchased the medieval castle Het Oude Loo, with the intention of constructing an adjacent hunting lodge. The site is an ideal spot for a garden with waterworks because of the natural sources of water in the surrounding hills. The characteristic feature of the formal 17th century garden is the strict symmetry of the lay out. Paleis Het Loo garden is an excellent example. A number of parterres are grouped around the central axis and these are planted with closely trimmed box hedges in decorative scroll patterns hence the name broderie parterres. The edging bands or rabatten are filled with a choice selection of annuals and perennials interspersed with topiaried juniper berry bushes so typical of the local Veluwe area. The often rare species were brought from all over the world by the West India and East India companies for William and Mary.

A garden like this must be viewed as a seasonally changing flower and plant exhibition. That’s the reason why the flowers are planted individually rather than in groups so that each species can be properly seen in all its beauty.

At the side of the palace are William and Mary’s private gardens: the King’s garden and the Queen’s garden. Mary’s garden has a serious collection of century-old citrus trees which are on display in tubs between May and October. Their inflorescence, their oranges and orange blossom are a symbol of the House of Orange.

Though the gardens at Het Loo were of modest proportions compared to those of Versailles, the waterworks enjoyed great renown for permanently spouting fresh groundwater diverted from the surrounding higher lying hills. Moreover, the King’s Fountain at the rear of the Upper garden rising to 13 metres was the highest spouting fountain in Europe. The fountains play from April to October.

The garden statues - gods and goddesses from the Greek myths, all have to do with the growth and flourishing of the garden and are dedicated to celebrating the achievement of creating such a oasis of delight in an originally arid heath land. Venus, the goddess of love, takes centre stage as the driving force behind it all.

Some of the plants at Het Loo change every year, both in the spring and in the summer. The aim is to achieve the most accurate possible reconstruction of the original garden.

On our way to the next stop we drove over the Bridge at Arnhem immortalized in Richard Attenboroughs epic retelling of Operation Market Garden, 'A Bridge Too Far'

We then had another surprise for our tour guests – we took them all to Appeltern! Exquisite gardens and place to visit. Their garden information park has been laid out in a way that will give you inspiration and help you with your own garden. A walk through their15-hectare park is an experience for all your senses as you will discover over 200 gardens on display. You will return home full of ideas and hopefully able to take even more pleasure from your garden.

They had a fantastic gift shop and a lovely café to eat at too!

Arrived in Venlo and checked into the Venlo area hotel for the next two nights.

This hotel is set in the beautiful Maasduinen nature park in the Dutch province of Limburg, not far from the German border (and Floriade).


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row