agave plant in the soft light of the botanical gardens Meise with the glasshouse behind it

I’m doing my best to channel all of the calm this week, which marks the launch of London Design Week 2018 (yaaaaasssss!) and my daughter’s 5th birthday. It’s about to get crazy busy. As this is the first LDF I’m covering for more than one day of events, it means there’s some serious design coming your way next week.

Today, though, I’m transporting you to the Botanical Gardens Meise. For our family break this summer, we decided to explore the city we’ve been to many times but only in passing through. The city is fairly compact and we were surprised at just how much there was to do which wasn’t remotely touristy. Ok, we did visit the Atomium (the one touristy thing we did all week) but it was worth being herded around for the history of the architecture.

Obsessed plant lady that I am, I was determined to visit at least one tropical garden over the summer and although Royal Greenhouses of Laeken were closed, we made it to Meise on a sweltering afternoon. Thankfully, gardens are the one place kids generally don’t get bored with as long as there’s space to run around so I was happy to disguise a totally selfish trip with something fun for the kids. Ha.

With a history dating back to 1796, the botanical gardens house more than 18,000 species of plant, including 13 separate environments within the plant palace. Just 20 minutes outside of Brussels by bus, the gardens feature one of the most stunning glasshouses I’ve ever been in. And I don’t say that lightly. I honestly began to well up with the sheer enormity of it all when I stepped through those sliding doors. The heat, the humidity, the quiet. Just wandering aimlessly, gazing up at banana and palm trees which would dwarf our house in height. Giant lily pads strong enough to support a baby (and they have!) Cacti standing like resplendent sculptures. I could go on but instead, I’ll let the photography do the talking. And if you ever find yourself in Brussels, make a little effort to seek house Plantentuin Meise. You simply must.

Looking down a tropical plant filled path through white glass doors into the next glasshouse in the botanical gardens Meise

Glossy green Monstera leaves in a shady spot of the botanical gardens Meise

Looking up at palm trees inside the glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise

Tropical plants and glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise, Brussels

A blushing pink tropical flower against a backdrop of lush green leaves at botanical gardens Meise

Giant palm trees almost as tall as the glasshouse inside the plant palace at botanical gardens Meise

Giant lily pads and trailing plants inside the botanical gardens Meise

Deep red blushing fly catcher hanging inside the glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise

Steam rising from plants enjoying a moisture bath inside the botanical gardens Meise

Trailing airplants hanging from the trees inside the tropical glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise

Cacti and succulents in dry, arid heat inside the glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise

Giant agave plant amongst cacti inside a glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise Tall, spiky, hairy cacti inside the dry glasshouse at botanical gardens Meise

Photography © Tiffany Grant-Riley

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