Travel stories: Gardens in Europe, part 1a

Bill and I spent three days in Brussels, Belgium, at the beginning of our trip. We stayed at a bed-and-breakfast right on the edge of the old city, which was an ideal location.

When our hosts learned I'm a garden columnist, they recommended we visit the Van Buuren house and gardens. It turned out to be a great tip.

It was a private garden until the owner's death in 1973. It consists of several garden "rooms" that were fun to explore. Even though we were there in early October -- in the off-season for gardens -- there was still plenty to look at and it wasn't difficult to envision what the garden looked like in midsummer.

Features of the garden include an Art Deco rose garden that has geometric designs; the picturesque garden with different types of trees; a large, formal rose garden (bottom photo) and a maze created with yew hedges. We wandered through the maze and discovered that even though the yews were only about 5 feet tall, it was tricky figuring out how to get out of there! I think mazes are a fun feature for gardens.

One other area of the garden is called "The Garden of the Heart," which was a tribute to the owner's late husband. It was designed in 1969 and covers 2 1/2 acres. In it, there are heart-shaped beds (see next post for photos).

I have 7 photos to share with you from the Van Buuren garden, but will break them up between 2 posts due to the size of the photo files. So be sure to check out the next post.