Belgium Trip
April 22-May 1, 2005

April 22/23 Brugge, Lies Vandenberghe Private Garden
April 24 Floralies, Geert Pattijn, Wirtz Gardens at Hostellerie Shamrock
April 25 Walda Peron, David & Alice Van Buren Museum
April 26 Royal Greenhouses, Botanic Gardens Meise, Daniel Ost
April 27 Parc Solvay, Foundation Folon Museum, Freyr Castle & Gardens
April 28 Gardens of Annevoie, Petit Leez Castle, Spa
April 29 Spa, Thermes de Spa
April 30 Jehay-Bodgne Castle & Gardens, Brussels

April 26th Royal Greenhouses, Botanic Gardens Meise, Daniel Ost

Off to the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken for a very special viewing of these glasshouses which are only open for 15 days a year, in April and May.

The glasshouses were constructed between 1874 and 1905 and are really quite unique in size and design. A huge metal framework comprising 36 beams supports the glass dome of the Winter Garden. The decorated ironwork melds so perfectly with the flying buttresses that run around the sides of the dome.The Congo Greenhouse is square with an octagonal dome. It was built in 1886-87 to provide the King with a space to show flora from the Congo Basin. The plants failed though and instead he placed subtropical vegetation inside. The glasshouses were filled with all kinds of wonderful plants to look at. The Embarcadere Greenhouse has two huge cinnamon trees with Medinilla magnifica in precious Chinese vases from the 1860's. Capability Brown designed the grounds. By the time of Leopold II's death in 1909, the Royal Greenhouses were the largest and most remarkable private botanical gardens in the world. A truly remarkable experience that we were lucky enough to be able to visit.

Lunch today was at the Hofterimde in Meise. I have a picture here of our Chef, who took great pride in both his meal and his restaurant. He showed us his new herb garden being built ... close by were pots of the herbs that would be going into it. I took a picture of a pot with clay pebbles in it.they use these to hold the water in the soil.

A visit to the Botanical gardens of Meise, lead by Gert Ausloos, was a wonderful chance to get out and walk among the trees and birds. This is a research institute completely devoted to the study of the biological diversity of the plant kingdom. It deals with the nomenclature of plants and their development throughout evolution. They deal mostly with indigenous and African plants. Several species of plants in their collection are no longer found in the wild or are severely threatened by extinction. In all, they grow around 18,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world. There was some very unusual sculptures there as well - note the 'people' sitting on the bench chatting to each other.

A short stop to the flower shop of Daniel Ost led to many photographs as you can see. We were thrilled to see so much in such a small space. We even had a chance to see how they were delivered to the shop. Then to our hotel or sightseeing. We visited a wonderful shopping arcade where we took a bit of time to pick up some gifts to bring home - lace, chocolates, and other goodies.

Then dinner at the Le Chalet de la Foret





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