Beervelde Park, situated near the City of Ghent, in the very heart of an area famous for its horticulture, stretches out over 50 acres. The estate was designed in 1873 in what is called (at least in France and Belgium) the English Landscape style. It was intended to serve as a display for what was at the time, a young Belgian horticulture.
Ever since, Beervelde Park has been the property of the Counts de Kerchove de Denterghem.
Today, 135 years later, it is remarkable to note that the de Kerchove de Denterghem name is still linked to the promotion of horticulture.
Count André is the former chairman of the Royal Society for Agriculture and Botany, the non-profit organisation which organizes the world famous 'Floralies of Ghent' every five years.
His brother, Count Renaud, is today's curator of the estate and organiser of the Beervelde's Garden Days, a fair which takes place every second weekend of May and October.
The basic idea of this landscape style inheritated from the romantic period of the nineteenth century is bringing together all the elements of an idealistic natural landscape on a fairly surface.
How do you feel about an island far away (without being really far) in the middle of a lake, fed by a river twisting between the slopes of wild meadows?
And what about a walk in a woodland with trees as high as pillars of a cathedral where you breathe the atmosphere of nature without being far from the civilized world?
The rule of the game is: "It is man made, but it has to look natural".
The same rule: "It is man made, but it has to look natural" is applied in the maintaining of the woodland part of the park. The work that has been done must be invisible for the visitor. Through intensive but for the visitor invisible gardening, one becomes more biotopes than one could expect. Such a diversity would never be found in the nature on such a small area. This invisible, but rather intensive gardening activity results not only in the right biotoptes for a large number of plants and animals but also in a place where the visitors can feel the different atmospheres that one can expect in a wood, without having to step miles and miles.
The woodland garden is particularly interesting in the spring with its naturalized flowerbulbs (snow drops, bluebells) and untill late may with a nice range of deciduous azaleas1, with special emphasis on the group of the historically important hardy Ghent azaleas (pontica hybrids).
1) The villa
Built on the spot of the former castle. In 1947, about 70 years after its construction, the castle was demolished because it was too big for its purpose of weekend place.
On its foundations, a large villa was erected in perfect harmony with the site, but which nowadays (60 years later) is quite big for its purpose of single-family home.
In 1966, Roger Raveel and three other painters created a three-dimensional work of art in the central corridor crossing the foundations which (for the visitor for example), almost unnoticed, merges art and reality.
Today, one wonders if the now deteriorating work of art shoulf be restored, or is it simply better to consider this work of art as something temporary.
2) The Coach house
The coach house is a charming complex of buildings around an inner court. One recognizes right away the spot for cows and horses of the days of yore as well as the place were the coaches were parked.
3) The pavilion behind the pond
Many visitors wonder about its real function. Although documents give evidence about its use as a pool house, the main function of the building was being beatiful and adding to the charm of the surrounding landscape.