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Blooming lovely: Celebrate spring with a visit to a garden festival

Floralia - Groot-Bijgaarden castle - Belgium
17:25 09/04/2024

The start of spring is accompanied by a blossoming of plant fairs around the country.  They are brilliant events for sparking some seasonal inspiration and seeking out a range of flowers, plants, bulbs and sought-after specimens. Many of these horticultural celebrations are sited in gorgeous historic grounds, making them a perfect day out.

5 April to 2 May Floralia Groot-Bijgaarden

Millions of spring bulbs in the 14-hectare grounds of this atmospheric red brick castle herald the spring season (pictured, main image). Pride of place goes to tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, while visitors can also admire a 1,000m2 greenhouse, several gardens, a flower labyrinth and an indoor flower exhibition that changes weekly. As well as viewing, a selection of flowers are on sale. Isidoor Van Beverenstraat 5

12-14 April Foire de Jardin Enghien

This is one of the country’s largest garden fairs where some 250 horticulturalists, architects and garden designers show off their specialities and wares, including outdoor furniture, pools and spas. Explore the four-hectare 17th-century park and pick up new skills in numerous workshops and talks. As well as gourmet food, artisan stands, castle visits and a kids’ playground are among the attractions. Parc du Château d’Enghien

Tous au jardin

19-21 April Tous au Jardin Aywailles, Liège

The second edition of this garden fair is an opportunity to meet horticultural professionals and suppliers of garden tools and materials, while snapping up some seasonal plants. The fair is hosted by the Brasserie Elfique on the banks of the Amblève river: enjoy visits of the brasserie, gourmet walks and a food market selling regional produce. The opening day of the event is reserved for professionals. Raborive 2

@Hugues Dotrice 040523-Amaryllis2023-Hdot.biz-6

20-28 April Concours Amaryllis Château de Beloeil

The annual competition devoted to the amaryllis bloom has come up with a new concept to delight visitors: an exhibition in the ground floor of the castle dedicated to floral displays designed for weddings. In total, some 8,000 amaryllis decorate the stylish interior with 21 professional and amateur florists competing in the 12th edition of the event. The Hainaut castle is set in 17th-century French-style landscaped gardens. Rue du Château 11

21-21 April Fête des Plantes La Feuillerie, Celles

Every year, this beautiful, landscaped 1.5-hectare park in Celles, near Tournai, hosts four garden-themed events. On 20 & 21 April, spring plants take pride of place, followed by flowering rhododendrons and azaleas on 12 May, hortensias on 14 July and autumn plants on 21 & 22 September. Expect a bounty of rare specialist plants, trees, shrubs and bulbs. Rue de la Feuillerie 1

Royal Palace Greenhouses

26 April to 20 May Royal Greenhouses Laeken, Brussels

As these splendid greenhouses are only open to the public for a few weeks a year, it’s best to book in advance to ensure entry (tickets go on sale on 11 April). In a tradition dating back a century, thousands of varieties of plants and trees, including rare species from the collection of King Leopold II, are on display. He was the monarch who commissioned the classical-style greenhouses and winter garden designed by illustrious Belgian architect Alphonse Balat in 1873. There are also long and short walking routes around the park of the royal residence. Avenue du Parc royal 61 (Laeken)

27-28 April Festival du Jardin du Château de Beez Namur

This 19th-century chateau and family estate hosts the 3rd edition of this garden festival, conveniently located near the E411 motorway on the outskirts of Namur. Around 70 exhibitors fill the space, with visitors invited to enjoy walks around the grounds, which include an English-landscaped park complete with rare trees. Entrance €7. Avenue du Château de Beez

Aywiers

3-5 May Les Jardins d’Aywiers Lasne

Set in the enchanting seven-hectare English park of the Cistercian abbey, Aywiers is a popular event in gardeners’ calendars. Some 200 professional nurseries, landscape gardeners and other experts are on hand to advise with a focus this tear on healthy soil and what’s happening underground in your garden. There are also visits of the abbey, a variety of workshops and kids’ activities. Rue de l’Abbaye 14

10-12 May Beervelde Park Ghent

Beervelde Garden Days is a biannual garden fair with some 200 horticulturalists from Belgium and abroad taking part. This year, the banner for the garden festival is Green Paradise, evoking lush vegetation and a green environment epitomised by this family estate. It also promotes a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Visitors can enjoy culinary delights, artisan crafts, music and children’s activities. Toleindestraat 25

Photos: (main image) ©Floralia, Groot-Bijgaarden castle; Tous au Jardin; @Hugues Dotrice Amaryllis2023-Hdot.biz-6; Laeken Palace greenhouses © Jean-Michel Byl; Aywiers

Written by The Bulletin