In 2022 this huge, once-in-a-decade festival will focus on inspiring ways for city-dwellers to connect with the beauty of plants and gardens.
Words: Sandra Ross, pictures: Robin Powell
Floriade 2022 is Holland’s once-in-a-decade International Horticultural Expo. The theme for the seventh expo is ‘Growing Green Cities’. The expo itself will be the start of a new green city incorporated into the municipality of Almere, on reclaimed land near Amsterdam. Unlike familiar garden festivals , such as Chelsea Flower Show or Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, almost everything built for Floriade will become a permanent part of Almere: the ‘tree library’, an alphabetically arranged arboretum that borders the plots will remain; the international ‘Green Embassies’ will be converted into housing; and the temporary pavilions will be repurposed after the event is over. Long-term, the event is about promoting change in the way we develop urban areas, but in the short-term it’s about horticultural thrills – and designers will have to design gardens that impress visitors for the full six months of the exhibition, which runs from April to October 2022.
This world-famous bulb display blooms for just eight weeks from the third week of March. More than 7 million bulbs showcase the new and the best from Holland’s world-beating bulb industry – there are more than 800 varieties of tulips alone! And Keukenhof is not just a display, it really is a garden, with winding waterways, paths through trees just coming into fresh green leaf, and inspirational small garden areas.
You can almost hear the rustling silks of the ladies taking a walk through the hornbeam hedges in this recreated baroque Dutch garden. Often referred to as a Dutch Versailles, it is much more intimate than the French masterpiece, with parterres, flower gardens, pools and fountains, colonnades and arbours on a human scale.
Not quite the Netherlands, but while you’re in the area, don’t miss the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken in Brussels, which are open to the public for just three weeks in April-May. Built for King Leopold II in the 19th century, the complex of grand glass and steel, cathedral-like, glasshouses form an elegant botanical oasis where plants are presented with meticulous plantsmanship.
We’ll be taking groups to catch the magnificence of Floriade in 2022. To register your interest, call 1300 233 200
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