Saturday, March 14, 2009
Spring has arrived!
Spring has arrived in Belgium! Shocking and wildly exciting for a Canadian not used to seeing anything green until May. And yes, now I'll have to rub it in like any other European. The signs of spring are everywhere - the air is warming up, the sun is gaining strength, fresh green buds are growing on shrubs, and of course lots of early spring bulbs are in bloom.
This post is actually already quite late - it was two weeks ago today that we visited our local botanical garden, the Leuven Kruidtuin (literally "Herb Garden" but used to denote botanical garden) and were welcomed by a field of crocuses in full bloom. That was March 1st! The sun was shining, the air was warm and the whole blue sweep of crocuses was buzzing with bees. Impossible not to feel the pure joy and excitement of spring. It was even nice to have the gardens filled with people - it felt like everyone was sharing in one great general enthusiasm.
The Leuven Kruidtuin was established in 1738 and is oldest botanical garden in Belgium. It's not very large, but it has a little bit of everything: a large tropical greenhouse, formal gardens, wilder shrub gardens, a large pond and streams, an alpine greenhouse and alpine gardens, a fruit and vegetable garden complete with chickens, goats and bee hives, and a beautifully designed walled garden. Since it's a 10 minute bike ride away, there will definitely be many visits over the year and I'll post more about the various areas. Right now, it's just about enjoying the field of crocuses and looking forward to all the bulbs that are soon going to burst into bloom. The daffodils are probably already out this week!!!
What: Leuven Kruidtuin
Where: Leuven, Belgium. Leuven is a 25 minute train ride away from Brussels. The Kruidtuin is close to the center of town. [Map]
When: Season seems to start early March with bulbs, but garden, including greenhouses, are open year-round. Some parts of the greenhouse are only open Sundays.