Today I take you to Laeken/Laken for one of the most interesting parks in Brussels, one with quite a history and one with a story to tell. The Tuinen van de Bloemist/Jardins du Fleuriste de Stuyvenberg is a bit hidden behind the Sobieski park, but really opens up when you arrive at the main terrace. Here you can admire one of the nicest views on the skyline of Brussels, spreading from the church of Laeken to the Justice Palace.
These gardens were, as so many parks, commissioned by king Leopold II and were formed of two terraces with a distinctive height difference. Together with the colonial garden (where tropical plants from Congo could adapt to the local climate) and the current Sobieskipark (which was the former royal fruit garden) they formed one big floriculture complex. At the lower terrace a large complex of glasshouses was built and it was there also where the flowers and plants for the royal gardens were grown. After the death of Leopold II the gardens were rented out to a local arborist and they slowly decayed.
In 1999 the Brussels region decided to turn it back to it’s former glory and they started to make it an educational garden with a stunning new design that respects the historical plans. Wandering through the park you will find a wide variety of plants and garden architecture. A wooded half circle embraces the more formal terrace and ponds. The park is also an example of ecofriendly management and at the same time a living experimental zone for gardening techniques. Around the ponds you can enjoy a private airshow from different species of dragonflies. A lookout platform gives you the opportunity to have an even better look on the city. Unfortunately the glasshouses are still completely ruined and I do hope they will find the resources to fix that in the future.
Not only is the garden well worth a visit, on top of that it’s also dotted with experimental design garden furniture. Every year the Brussels region organises the contest “Parck Design” and the contemporary garden furniture you’ll find here is the result of the 2006/2007 contests. Have fun on some benches on rails or take a seat in a UFO bench. So if you are into garden architecture, furniture design or maybe just looking for a peaceful quiet place in the city, there is always a good reason to come and visit this wonderful garden.
It’s easy reachable by metro line 6, stop Stuyvenbergh.