The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Belgium Public Gardens

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172.Public gardens and promenades. These are to be found in, or round, most of the towns in Holland and the Netherlands. One of the characteristic features of modern city improvements on the Continent is that of converting ramparts into gardens and shady walks. The public promenade at Brussels has been formed, or at least greatly enlarged, by the removal of the old ramparts; and by substituting in their place lines of elm and lime trees, enclosing three distinct parallel roads, for foot passengers, carriages, and horses. The public are thus supplied with delightful rides, walks, and drives, of several miles in length, and every where shaded by trees. The park at Brussels, mentioned by Evelyn (� 166.), has undergone great improvements, including the removal of the clipped trees and the hornbeam hedges. (Gard. Mag., vol. ii. p. 87.) A beautiful park, near the town of Rotterdam, well wooded and drained, affords a variety of pleasant promenades. At the extremity of this park, which is two miles long, stands the summer residence of the Princes of Orange, called �The Palace in the Wood.� The approach to it is through a forest of oaks which are regarded with superstitious veneration, and never submitted to the pruning hand of the woodman. (Elliott's Travels, 1832, p. 10.) The voorhout, or principal street, at Rotterdam, is also used as a promenade, and has several rows of trees in the centre, with a carriage-way on each side, while walks in the middle, covered with shells, are assigned to pedestrians. (Ibid. p. 10.)