Thursday, November 24, 2011

National Botanic Garden of Belgium - Part II

Following on from the tour of the Plant Palace in Belgium's National Botanic Garden, here we explore the rest of the gardens. As I mentioned previously the weather had already turned much cooler in Belgium than at home, so the gardens were further into Autumn. Nethertheless we had a very pleasant walk round in the (cool) sunshine.

The garden moved to its current home in the grounds of Bouchout Castle in 1938. The castle is still very much at the centre of the garden, and still surrounded on several sides by water. 

The castle dates back to the middle ages and has had substantial redevelopment over the years. I believe it's possible to stay in the Castle, although I don't know whether you have full freedom to explore the gardens out of hours if you were to book it for a holiday.

This photo doesn't give the scale of this tree justice, we were walking up one of the pathways and were both drawn to this. Many of the trees in the parkland pre-date the botanical garden. 

A smaller glass house was filled with Agaves
And they claim to have over a hundred types and species in their collection
Wandering round the parkland and as you can see Autumn was very much in full swing. I think the yellow carpet here was from a Ginkgo biloba.


This Cypress was in full Autumn mode. I am always fascinated by the strange roots that these grow near to water.
Many of us have to protect plants in winter, but how many have to go to such lengths as these? The plant being protected in the second picture below is easy to work out as it still has leaves poking out of the top (Musa basjoo). However what do you think is being protected by the metal sheeting?

Hopefully we will get the opportunity to visit again during a summer month sometime in the future.


National Botanic Garden of Belgium


  1. Are they protecting gunnera in the second to last photo? Not the most aesthetic solution given how lovely the rest of the gardens are!

  2. I actually really like the metal protection, may have to work on something like that here!

  3. That tree at the top is really something. Thankfully I don't have to worry about this kind of protection, but you do what you have to do.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  4. Hi David, it is Gunnera indeed! :)

    Loree, I suppose opinions are divided whether it looks alright or it's too functional looking. I quite like it but probably camouflaged with a net of leaves on it?

    I agree Cher, depending on what plants you're in to you'll just have to do what you need to do :)

  5. I really enjoyed looking at this beautiful countryside, and the trees. Especially the yellow carpet of leaves. Beautiful. And I can imagine how immense that one tree must be! The castle is impressive. Surrounded by water makes it even more so.

  6. That picture of the bald cypress is beautiful. I am also really intrigued by the smaller greenhouse for Agaves. The architecture looks so whimsical!

  7. What a gorgeous place to visit. And there is something so beautiful and magical about ancient trees like that!

  8. I loved this post, especially seeing how their protect their tropical plants in the winter. I've never seen a fortress for a banana :-).

    :: Bamboo and More ::

  9. Holley, the place was gorgeous, and so quiet too, it felt like we had the place to ourselves. I do wonder if the water surrounding the castle used to be a moat, it 'looked' like it was only on two sides.

    I like that greenhouse too College Gardener, it looked like a large Victorian crown :)

    Indie, I agree and ancient trees adds so much character to a place.

    Glad you do Gerhard :) It made me smile seeing that banana fortress but it doesn't compare to the fortresses we once saw protecting a couple of Trachycarpus fortuneis in Vienna.

  10. Gorgeous! So peaceful. The yellow gingko carpet is amazing!

  11. Unusual to find a place where everything is beautiful. Or maybe you have a lens which matches my eyes.

  12. And here was me thinking they were giving a little extra shelter for some hibernating creature, thanks David. The roots of the Cypress are indeed weird.

  13. I totally agree Debs :)

    Esther, it is a beautiful place :) I wouldn't say it's perfect (the photos don't show the unkempt bits) but it is one of the better botanical gardens we've visited.

    Good try Alistair :) Although little creatures can take shelter under them too!

  14. What a beautiful glasshouse - I also really like the castle. I've never seen cypress roots like that, bizarre. I think the corrugated protection jars in the surroundings, however practical.

  15. Janet - The castle was a stunning building, we would have loved to have been able to explore inside it.

    The cypress roots are very 'other worldly' and just as strange in person. We were surprised by the corrugated sheeting, and initially saw it from the far side of the lake so had no idea what it was for at first.


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