BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – From now on you can buy tickets for a visit to the Royal Greenhouses in Laeken. They open once a year – this time from April 15 to May 8. You must reserve a time slot. The gardeners are ready to finish. Trees are quickly pruned, the grass is mowed and flowers are planted. A race against the clock every year.
During a visit to the greenhouses on Friday it became clear that preparations are in full swing. Outside the trees are pruned, grass is pruned here and there, while inside the Geranium Gallery everything has to be planted. Timing is extremely important, because visitors naturally want to see everything in bloom. “We still have a lot of work to do. There is a lot to clean, plants have to be tied up and added. All flower plants have to be placed. They are still in the greenhouses. They are put in the last two weeks and until the last day “, says Johan Lauwers, head of the greenhouses department. “It’s not always easy. We have to take the weather or insects into account. Every year it remains an experiment and a gamble, but so far it has always worked.”
Depending on nature
Due to corona and social distancing rules, a walk through the royal gardens was added to the visit of the Royal Greenhouses last year. Due to success, that concept was kept. The architecture of the conservatories can thus be admired from a distance, while strolling past temple ruins and the circular rose garden. The visit to the Palmenplateau starts in the conservatory complex with the Débarcadère, the Palmenserre, the Azalea Serre, the Geranium Gallery, the Diana Serra and the Spiegel Serre. Afterwards it goes to the large greenhouses with Embarcadère, the Congo greenhouse and its subtropical plants, the impressive domed Winter Garden and finally the Orangery.
To keep all the greenery healthy, 15 people work in the greenhouses and 22 in the park all year round. Together with employees who are responsible for the daily maintenance, this amounts to about 50 people who make the Royal Domain shine. For three weeks, the public can enjoy their hard work. “It is a pity that it only lasts three weeks, but we are dependent on nature. Flowers are unfortunately not eternal. It is really the flowering period that interests us. Our workers work very hard to either slow down the flowers that grow too quickly or to speed up those that are going too slow,” says Jean-Yves André.
Anyone wishing to visit the greenhouses must reserve a time slot via www.koninklijke-serres-royales.be. During the day there is a choice of a long course of 2.5 hours or a short one of 1.5 hours. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on Easter Monday, April 18, there are again nocturnes. Then only the short course is open. On Thursday 28 April there will be an adapted route for people with reduced mobility.