The Garden Guide

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

Ghent Floral Exhibition

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181. A public exhibition of fine and rare plants in full bloom takes place twice every year in Ghent, under the auspices of the Royal Botanical and Horticultural Society. The first of these is on the 6th of February; the second on the 29th of June. These meetings are styled the festivals of Flora, or the Salon d'Hiver and the Salon d'Ete. Amateurs as well as gardeners send the rarest and most novel plants, as the representatives of their gardens and parterres. The reunions to which these exhibitions give rise are most splendid. National as well as foreign amateurs, on such occasions, flock to Ghent, the ville privilegee de Flore, as it has been called, and from distant parts, to witness a display of the gayest and richest productions of Flora, not only the most beautiful of the kind, but perfectly unique in Europe. The festivals generally last three days, and are countenanced by the presence of the highest public authorities. At the conclusion of the period, a reward, medal, or other token of approbation, is bestowed on the plant which has been judged to be the finest or the most rare; and the names of all such plants, with those of the owners, are inserted in the public papers. These public exhibitions have tended to extend, improve, and give a stimulus to the cultivation of ornamental plants, which are to be met with in and about Ghent in the greatest perfection. (Granville's Travels, &c., vol. i. p. 40., 1828.)