In the summer of 2003 the rose gardens of the Vrijbroek were honoured with an ‘Award of Garden Excellence’. The recognition was presented by the ‘World Federation of Rose Societies’ during their three-yearly rose convention. Since then we have good reasons to say that our gardens belong to the nicest rose collections of Belgium and Europe. The rose collection of the Vrijbroek is housed in three pavilions, where more than a thousand different roses are on display in all their beauty.
The roses are best viewed with our new walking guide in hand, providing you with many interesting facts about roses and plenty of background information on our rose plants.
The rose show garden
The traditional rose garden dates back to 1934 and was designed by garden architect G. De Bosschere. The 1.5 hectare garden contains 122 rose-beds.
Box blocks and yew pyramids make up the evergreen elements, while rose shrubs, climbing roses and an impressive alley of wisteria provide the vertical accents. This area is separated from the surroundings by a frame of limes and spruces.
The educational rose garden
A visit to the educational rose garden takes you into an aromatic and colourful museum. The plants tell the history, system and evolution of roses, while the lawn between the rose borders welcomes you to take a stroll or nap in the sun.
The wild rose garden
Botanic roses or wild roses have been a major part of the bush layer near the woods and in shelter belts for several millenniums. Native and exotic varieties have been planted in the third pavilion.
The story of the rose!
Up until the 18th century Europe only knew native varieties of roses and those imported by crusaders. But by the magic of nature, whether or not given a helping hand by humans, new types came into being. A characteristic of these roses is a single flowering period in summer.
It was only when Chinese roses were introduced during the Napoleonic era that rose growers managed to select hybrids with a longer flowering season. Based on their application they were referred to as ‘old garden roses’. A well-known example is the Red Rose of Lancaster, or the Rosa gallica officinalis, a rose that has been used for centuries for medicinal preparations. Art lovers will know it from the Van Eyck brothers’ Lamb of God painting. In the Vrijbroek Park, the Red Rose of Lancaster can be found in the educational garden. In the course of the 19th and 20th century modern roses developed, and it was especially the tea hybrids, with their elegant buds and broad colour range, that have made the rose popular. The ‘La France’ rose is also worthy of mention as the first tea hybrid selected in 1864 to the south of Paris. ‘La France’ is characterised by its pleasant scent and long flowering time and is available in shops to this day.
Thousands of people around the world are working on the evolution and popularisation of the rose, and through gene technology and computer models researchers modify natural processes to their wishes. And we can be proud that people from our country have also contributed to this field. The educational rose garden features a beautiful selection of the Buyl brothers, Delforge, Parmentier, Van Houlte, Vlaeminck, Lens, Orey and the department of Genetics and Plant Improvement, as well as the work of enthusiastic amateur gardeners.
Plant collections management
tel.: 015 45 13 81
fax: 015 45 13 91