The information boards complain that the present garden has been spoiled by the skyscrapers and office blocks erected more recently around the edge of the garden. I think this is pre-judging things, and actually quite like the battle of old and new though one of them has inconsiderately placed itself right in my sun. I do very much like the board’s declaration that ‘the 60-hectare site is dotted with pretty hedges, herbaceous borders, ponds and pleasant corpses.’
This is the lovely Jardin Botanique, in the shadow of huge glass skyscrapers on the peripheral ring road, just on the northern edge of central Brussels. Like a lot of similar projects from the early nineteenth century, it was built on waste land, in this case a plague pit. In the recently-improved weather we’ve been having, it’s really agreeable, with children running around the topiary pretending they’re in a maze, and the squat greenhouses, which are now a cultural centre belonging to the francophone Community government, presiding over the lot.