If you want to see beautiful flowers and trees here in Belgium, here are some of my favourite places that I often visit during summer (there are certainly others unknown to me; send me a mail if you know a nice place that I should visit !):
The Vrijbroek park, in the suburbs of Mechelen (20 km North of Brussels) has a superb rose garden. Try to visit it in May-June when the roses are at their best. The rose garden was awarded the “Award of Garden Excellence” in 2003. There is also an extensive collection of dahlias (more than 300 varieties), best seen in August. The park also has many other plants and it is usually extremely quiet, especially in the mornings, even at the week-end. Entrance is free.
The Botanical Garden of Leuven (20 km East of Brussels) is a marvelous place, not far from the center of the city. It is relatively small but is packed with flowers. It was created in 1738 and is the oldest botanical garden of Belgium. If you visit, do not miss the small but interesting greenhouse with tropical plants, close to the entrance. Again, entrance is free.
A few years ago, I visited a small but nice garden open to the public, the Hoegaarden Gardens (about 30 km East of Brussels, you could combine its visit with the Leuven Botanical Garden that is not so far away, or with the Hoegaarden brewery…). Here, there is an entrance fee.
The National Botanical Garden in Meise (just a few km North of the Ring of Brussels) is also worth a visit, especially for its huge greenhouse. The park is quite big and varied but does not possess many flowers. The main interest is rather trees and shrubs. This one has an entrance fee.
Of course, I must mention a place where I spend much time due to its proximity: the Solvay Park in La Hulpe (15 km South of Brussels). It is located at the border of the forest of Soignes, a superb cathedral of tall beeches, through which you can walk or bike almost to the center of Brussels. Entrance is free. If you want the whole park to yourself, go there during the week or early in the morning at the week-ends, Saturday is usually very quiet while Sunday is often very busy as many people from the neighborhood (and from Brussels) go there for a walk. There are relatively few flowers there, except for the ones flowering naturally. I am probably visiting it once a week on average. There is no best time to visit it, all seasons are ideal. In the spring, fields of daffodils in early April are immediately followed by seas of anemone sylvestris. May-June see the many rhododendrons and azaleas flowering. A marvelous time of the year there is autumn with superb colours in the trees reflecting in the several ponds scattered around the park. A castle (normally not open to the public) sits in the middle of the park and the museum of the Folon Foundation is also located in the park.
I will soon add a specific page about this park on this site.
The Halle wood (about 15 km South-West of Brussels, very close to the Brussels-Paris highway) is worth a visit in early May when the bluebells are flowering. You can see more pictures of this place in one of my posts.
There are also a number of garden fairs that are organized in nice locations.
My favorites are:
The Rare and Collectible Plants fairs (usually mid-April and mid-september) in the gardens of La Feuillerie, in Celles (about 50 km South-West of Brussels) is a great place if you are looking for plants that are difficult to find. Many rare plants specialists are present there. The garden where it takes place is also worth a visit by itself.
Another fair that is located in beautiful surroundings is the Plants Festival (usually mid-May and also in September) in the gardens of the castle of Beez, a few km from the center of Namur (about 40 km South-East of Brussels).