There are certain Belgian places which compensate for the long, dark-grey days. One of such places is the Coloma Rose Garden. It is close to Brussels, in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, a small town bordering the valley of the Senne and the Pajottenland. We first visited the garden in 2005. It was end of July, not the best moment to admire the roses as most of them passed away. The longest day of the year in Belgium (16 hours and 16 minutes) occurs in June and perhaps this is the reason of why the daylight gets special and turns the roses into living multicoloured chandeliers. In June also, most of the roses are at their peak, in full bloom. It is worth waiting for such days. The day light takes some Nordic accents mixed with cloudy and shade, mist and low sun intensity. This year the garden celebrates its 20th anniversary and the Sint-Pieters-Leeuw municipality organises a Rose festival from 27 June to 6 July. The owners claim that the garden is one of the largest in Europe and harvests about 3,000 varieties of roses with 200,000 roses blooming during the five-month opening. The garden is part of the Coloma Park, which includes an old castle with a traditional moat, a museum of roses, an orchard of roses, in addition to the main garden. The main rose garden is made of five themed mini-gardens, grouping rose varieties by country and by breeder. The five rose gardens are:
- a traditionally geometric structured garden, with pergolas and verandas housing red and white roses which reminds the heraldry of the municipality, the town of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw.
- roses created by Flemish horticulturists.
- a rose collection showcasing the evolution of roses across the history.
- a tribute to roses from all over the world, hosted by pergolas and verandas. This place takes one to a short journey through Europe’s most famous roses and elsewhere.
- rose bushes.
Not far away from these mini-gardens there is the rose orchard with varieties of climbing roses. There are roses bearing the names of famous people as well as roses coming from Japan, China and other countries, including Romania, my home country. In the garden centre there is the impressive pergola wearing white roses. The view is breathtaking. The place is symphony of colours and spectacular perfumes of all kind of roses: climbing roses, antique roses, rambling roses, bush roses and the latest released hybrids. I must acknowledge the efforts of the garden’s owners who have made this place one of most famous rose gardens in the world, a world-class attraction. It is worth spending a summer day in the garden, which is one of the emblematic places of Belgium, Europe and, why not, of the world.
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