Advent at the Garden Academy

17. November 2019 by Isabelle Van Groeningen
Categories: english, Winter | Leave a comment

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Zirkustiere auf der Adventsausstellung in der Königlichen Gartenakademie © Isabelle van Groeningen

Deutsche Version

This weekend is the official inauguration of our advents‘ exhibition. As I write this, there are still dozens of colleagues decorating, sweeping, tidying, moving things around. This week no stone has been left unturned. Outside in the plant sales area, what is left of the woody plants and the herbaceous, has been tidied up and redecorated. Falling leaves have been relentlessly swept up. Festive lighting has gone up, and all is now ready for the arrival of our Christmas trees in ten days’ time. All plants that have to come inside have been brought in. The Borders have been tidied up, cutting back the unstructured perennials like catmints and Alchemilla mollis, and have already received their layer of compost.

The walk between the till pavilion and the entrance under the chimney has been redecorated with a walk of hornbeam and Wisteria arches. During the wintermonths, most visitors come in this way, and it makes it more inviting.

The Circus moves in


In the greenhouses every nook and cranny has been tidied up. Windowsills cleared and cleaned, windows polished, cobwebs removed. Monday morning by 10 o’clock, the Glasshouse had been emptied, ready to be filled with new furniture and then redecorated. The same was the case in the central corridor. The large exhibition house that gets used for different purposes, was also emptied and re-decorated and is now a pop-up floristry shop in a large circus arena. The café is always the last area to get its seasonal decorations. The theme for this year is “Christmas Circus”. Even though nothing is quite finished and ready yet, we have all fallen in love with every little detail. The Circus theme is one that appeals to the inner child in each of us. The magic of it never fails to fascinate children. Real-life animals have been substituted by delightful life-sized lions, bears, giraffes and larger-than life penguins made by the world-famous Steiff Manufactory.


Adventsvorbreitungen in der Königlichen Gartenakademie © Isabelle van Groeningen


I had once more the honour of re-decorating the small cedar glasshouse. This year I turned it into a bird-friendly gardener’s greenhouse. I have always dreamt of having just such a little greenhouse where one can sow early crops and generally potter around when the weather is too bad to work outside.

The worry about finding somebody trustworthy to look after my green treasures when I am away has held me away from investing in one of these desirable objects. Asking a neighbour to look after the cat for a few days is not complicated. Asking somebody to water young, sensitive seedlings is a different matter altogether. Only you know which plants need more water when it is hot and sunny, which ones to avoid watering when it is cooler so they do not rot. My reward for all these years of patience, managing cuttings and seedlings on various windowsills, is the Garden Academy with its 11 wonderful large greenhouses, even when several of these are no longer used for growing plants.


Adventsausstellung in der Königlichen Gartenakademie © Isabelle van Groeningen

I hope you forgive me for keeping it short this week, but duty calls. If you can, come and visit us, we are open till the 22nd of December. If not, you will have to make od with the photographs on our website, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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