Ornamental and functional
This is a completely newly built garden, specially designed to suit its purpose as a museum garden. The garden is situated on a historical site where gardens existed in the past. It is made up of six garden sections:
- A terrace garden with an Italian-style orangery garden.
- A kitchen garden, divided into four squares, with a greenhouse, cold frames and beds for flowers and herbs. In the middle is a cloister with low standard pyramid-shaped pear trees, flat-lying garlands and rose columns.
- Berry and fig gardens, with a cross-shaped arbour with an abundance of espaliered fruit and flowers.
- An orchard with a regional collection of half standard plum trees.
- An orchard with full standard fruit trees, typical of Pajottenland fruit farming circa 1900, with a traditional fruit shed and a mushroom cellar.
- An orchard with low standard trees showing how cultivation practices have evolved over time from around 1950 to the present.
Espaliered fruit grows up against all the walls in a range of varieties, representing the largest collection of traditional espalier shapes. The fruit baskets are really something to behold.
In 2012, the Museum Garden was the only garden in Flanders to be awarded the EGHN, the European Garden Award.
Working miracles on a limited amount of space
The Museum Garden proves that you really don’t need a lot of space to grow your own fruit and vegetables. You can grow several fruit trees along one town wall. In the spring, their blossoms will brighten up your garden, then in summer you can enjoy the fruit. In the autumn, their leaves turn that gorgeous yellow and red colour. Even if the amount of public space is limited, you can work wonders on a small surface area.
The Museum Garden attaches great importance to the nearly forgotten art of espaliered fruit cultivation, involving varieties of apricot, nectarine, peach, plum, pear, apple, quince, sweet cherry, sour cherry and many berry varieties. Espaliered fruit farming offered a wide range of benefits at a time when labour was cheap.
- Espalier shapes need little in the way of space, and grow a treat up against walls or as hedges.
- They will grow in a kitchen garden without getting in the way of the vegetables.
- They are pruned in such a way that most of the energy goes to fruiting. No excess branches, no superfluous foliage, you can even ‘save’ the trunk. The trees remain upright because they are tied to a wall or trellis.
- Espaliered fruit ripens on ‘open’ trees, which means the fruits get more sunlight and consequently contain extra sugars and vitamins.
- Tying against a wall gives them added protection against the cold and they can benefit from the heat stored in the wall. The fruits are larger and more appetising, quicker to ripen and more resistant to disease.
- Creative master gardeners can make espalier shapes look beautiful by forcing stalks and branches to take on the wildest shapes and causing them to interweave. Imaginative shapes made to look like living lacework.
The Museum Garden has a special micro climate. Temperatures are invariably a few degrees higher than the surroundings. A normal winter only sees a limited number of frost days inside the walls. But it is more important that spring temperatures in the garden are higher, and that things stay warm for longer during autumn. This micro climate comes courtesy of the high walls and hedges that protect against the chilly winds, white walls that reflect the heat of the sun, the bricks that act as heat collectors and the Pajottenland soil which contains a lot of heavy clay that stores heat.
From May 1st until October 31st
From Tuesday until Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm (in October until 5 pm)
Mondays closed (open on public holidays)
For sale at the caste of Gaasbeek
€ 3 for 1 person
€ 2 for -18 year olds, students and their supervisors
Free for -7 year olds and attendants of the disabled
Combi tickets for the Castle and the Museum Garden: € 13 (attention: final visit to the castle starts at 17h)
From May 1st to October 31st
From Tuesday until Friday at 10 am and 2 pm
On Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm and 4 pm
Cost: € 60 (+ admission ticket per person)
Duration: +/- 1 hour
Maximum 50 persons per guide
Payment must be done in advance at the castle of Gaasbeek. Reservation is mandatory and must be submitted 2 weeks in advance through the reservation form.