Last week, Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve were fortunate to visit Meise Botanic Garden while on an awareness tour with La Source, a 20-meter-long oil painting depicting the biodiversity around and in the Berg River. There were discussions around future collaborations and joint awareness campaigns around art and conservation. And possibly twinning our future projects.
We were taken on a historical tour in the Bouchout Castle, then following the paths along the vast meadows and trees, shrubs, and hibernating flowers - seeing numerous and varied statues, onto the Orangery and the Garden’s Shop where we tasted their local coffee. Then finishing our journey in the enormous glass house, the Plant Palace. A place of innovation, wonder, and beauty. The glass house showcases plants from different regions of the world, through simulating the climate – one walks through the rainforest, desert, and savannah. We spotted the giant waterlilies, Victoria cruziana, which are also present at the Botanical Garden in Stellenbosch. The Botanic Garden Meise has a plant exchange and collaboration with the Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden.
The history of the garden dates back to 1796, hosting two centuries of knowledge and innovation around plants. The garden covers 92 hectares. Historic buildings can be visited, and a castle with a tower dating back to the 12th century, is available for events and art exhibitions.
The botanical library hosts a wealth of knowledge with over 200 000 books from the 15th century till today. We were fortunate to see the herbarium, with approximately four million specimens, and has major collections from Europe, Central Africa, Brazil and South-East Asia. It has one of the greatest wild roses collections in the world.
There are more than 25 000 accessions from almost 18 000 taxa of living plants, including different threatened species, such as Kwango giant cycad. The Garden also has an internationally recognized seedbank notably known for its coffee, banana and beans unique Crop Wild Relative collections additionally to endangered wild flora of Belgium and D.R. Congo (the Katanga Cupper hills).
This visit aims at broadening the collaboration between Meise Botanic Garden and the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve.
Check out their events, workshops and more -
Meise Botanic Garden
"Building a sustainable future through discovery, research and conservation of plants." Steven Dessein, CEO