Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Floralia- A Little Piece of the Netherlands in Belgium

Keukenhof is known worldwide for their stunning tulip displays and it is on my list of places to visit while we are living here in Belgium.  Today is a particularly exciting day in Holland as it is Queen's Day and a very special Queen's day, because the Queen is passing the crown on to her son. 

Due to a very late Spring here in Europe (and in the US, from what I hear), rumor has it that Keukenhof, although still beautiful, is not in its prime.  So, I decided that this year was not the year to visit.  So, I jumped on the chance to go Monday afternoon with a group of wives from Dan's unit and check out the Floralia Exhibition at the Castle of Groot-Bijgaarden.  The architects of the exhibit are from the Netherlands.  Even better, this exhibition was less than an hours drive away.

What a stunning display of flowers.  The beautiful 14 hectacre (equal to 35.5 acres) castle grounds were decorated with 500 varieties of flowers, 400 of which were varieties of tulips.   All the bulbs were planted by hand, over 1 million bulbs!

A local retirement home had an outing.  They remind me of a biker gang, with wheelchairs. 

In addition to the gardens was a greenhouse displaying a rotating collection of over 150 flower arrangements (changed each week) and flower beds

No, the colors on your computer are not messed up.  These are muli-color roses.  I wish I knew how they were able to do this

The largest Hydrangeas I have ever seen

A little bit about the castle itself.  Kasteel Groot-Bijgarden (or Castle of Groot-Bijgaarden) is a 12th century castle (that is the 1300s, or a really, really, really long time ago) just outside of Brussels.  For those of you interested in architecture, the castle is considered to be in Flemish Renaissance Style. 

Looking pretty good for being over 700 years old.

The castle is surrounded by a moat spanned by a bridge with five arches (not sure the signifigance of the five arches) leading to a drawbridge and gatehouse (dating from the 14th century). 

Although we couldn't go into the castle (though you can rent it for weddings and special events), we were able to go into the tower (or the dungeon), which was built in 1347.  Not quite a dungeon anymore, the tower housed more floral displays.

Again, turn your head:)  Sorry for the sideways pictures.

As you can see, Ava really enjoyed the flowers as well.

Oh no!  The gang got a hold of Ava. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, those flowers are just stunning! I also love that the castle still has a legit MOAT. What a cool place!