Last week I got the chance to meet up with Dandan, the Chinese girl discovering our beautiful Province of Antwerp. Sometimes all you need is a story, this one’s about “the rose”, to learn a thing or two about universal humanity.
We met up at the rose garden of Vrijbroekpark in Mechelen, the perfect setting for a flower nerd like me. We started our tour learning about the historical shape of the French rose garden. It’s the most unnatural thing you can imagine! Who would have guessed? Rose bushes arranged in geometrical shapes with nothing but grass in between, interlaced by wide walking lanes designed for historical dress shapes.
The big downside to all this beauty? The maintenance cost. The only reason why this garden is kept the way it is, not because of the prestige, is to guard this part of history where people gathered plants from all over the world to crossbreed them and keep them in artificial gardens to show off their wealth. Humans have always wanted to control nature, the rose is the perfect example of that.
For some undefined reason, roses have always fascinated humans, all over the world. A universal symbol of love, maybe because it takes a lot of love to keep roses in your garden. The gorgeous artificial rose types we all know and love, they don’t even grow rose-hips anymore, they have lost all their natural purpose. But, damn, aren’t they beautiful! The American varieties brought us the scarlet red roses and bright yellow kind, European roses are all about soft pink hues and did you know there’s even a blue or green type of rose? Eventually we started crossbreeding with the Chinese rose type, hoping our roses would bloom all year round, just like in China, but our climate just isn’t that forgiving. Nature will always find a way. So when you take you gotta give, so live and let live and let go.
The roses are taking their last breath at the Vrijbroekpark garden, but make sure to visit them next year in full bloom, this should be quite impressive! Or visit the gardens these days to behold the impressive Dahlia garden. A welcome change of city scenery!
Want to know what else the province of Antwerp has to offer? Go and check out the summer calendar en Dandan’s adventures right here.
Oh, and I heard roses are making a comeback!
The last of the green roses in the garden