Six on Saturday: 11 Sep 21: Keep it in the family

This week’s Six on Saturday comes from my favourite section of Belgium’s botanical garden at Meise, just north of Brussels. It’s called the Cronquist garden (after the American botanist, Arthur Cronquist) and houses an enthralling collection of herbaceous plants, arranged neatly by family in beds – Cronquist was apparently instrumental in developing a new classification system for plant families. The beds are set off by … Continue reading Six on Saturday: 11 Sep 21: Keep it in the family

Les bonnes nouvelles (good news)

Some scenes from an afternoon bike ride through forest and orchard, and a pit stop at my favourite local café, where good news was on offer. A list of good news from around the world was displayed on the board on the pavement outside the café, including: Mexico has banned glyphosate (a broad-spectrum herbicide, used in weed killers) and GM corn. Kazakhstan has abolished the … Continue reading Les bonnes nouvelles (good news)

Belgium’s most famous bluebells

This morning I was in Hallerbos (Dutch for Halle Forest), a stretch of woodland in Flemish Brabant, just half an hour’s drive from Brussels. It’s famed for its carpet of blue at this time of year: it’s not just England that can boast this beautiful spring phenomenon! Bluebells are often an indicator of very old woodland, and Hallerbos is a remnant of the ancient charcoal … Continue reading Belgium’s most famous bluebells

Belgian Garden Birdwatch: 06-07 Feb 2021

While we wait with great anticipation for spring, the birds seem to be a step ahead, and are singing away as if they can already feel the soft rays of sunshine and the surge of new growth. These photos were taken before today’s snow. I did try to take some snowy pics but they turned out grainy – too much noise due to a high … Continue reading Belgian Garden Birdwatch: 06-07 Feb 2021

Six on Saturday: 23 Jan 2021: Catkins

I’m still a little high on the novelty of a patch of blue sky and a few weak but welcome rays of sunshine, which arrived here yesterday after weeks of grisaillle (the Belgian/French word for miserable, grey weather: as grim as it sounds). Today also looks promising and mild. I had a lovely bike ride in the forest yesterday, getting a bit carried away with … Continue reading Six on Saturday: 23 Jan 2021: Catkins

The horse, the goats and an outraged heron

“Something very odd is going on in that field. Will you take a look at that? Really, it’s hardly decent!”, thinks the young heron, watching the goings-on across the lake. “Looks fairly normal to me, just a tranquil horse munching some grass…”, thinks the photographer. “Hang on a second, are those goats? Goats and horses, do they mix? Well it seems they do, and as … Continue reading The horse, the goats and an outraged heron

In the forest on a Monday

The Sonian forest, south of Brussels, is Europe’s largest beech forest, and includes the remains of the ancient Silva Carbonaria or Charcoal Forest. Over the centuries, it has played many roles: hunting ground of the Hapsburg nobility, timber supply yard for Napoleon Bonaparte’s shipbuilding efforts as part of a planned invasion of England (he apparently felled 22,000 oak trees for that), retreat for monks and … Continue reading In the forest on a Monday