The land for Sobieski Park was originally purchased by King Léopold II in 1903 to further increase the size of the royal estate. The king, who wanted a fruit garden, arranged for the park to be planted with numerous different varieties of fruit tree. At one time, the garden contained 50 different types of pear trees and 60 types of apple trees! Greenhouses were used for vines as well as orange, peach and apricot trees. In 1975, the Royal Trust handed over the park to turn it into a public garden. The former orchard and hay meadow occupy the central part of the garden, contrasting with the trellised orchard, situated higher up, and path bordered by sculpted hornbeam hedgerows. The site is planted with Chinese willow, Turkish hazel, ash fen woods and plane trees, with the weeping willows surrounding the pond reflected in its surface.
Close by, a wooded area, also purchased by King Léopold II in 1905, and which would later become the Colonial Garden, covers an area of 3 hectares. The monarch wanted to use the space to construct greenhouses for the collections of tropical plants brought back from the Congo by botanist Émile Laurent. With no heating available during the war, most of the plants died, and those that did survive had to wait until 1951 to be transferred to the Botanical Garden of Meise. However, a number of horse chestnut, balsam poplar, copper beech, black locust and elderberry trees still stand today. In the early 1960s, the greenhouses were demolished and the park was definitively transformed into a public space. One can’t miss the handsome, Norman-style half-timbered villa designed by architect Haneau. (Listed 11/06/1998)
Walking tours with the park’s gardeners. Saturday and Sunday at 11h00 and 15h00 (duration: 0,5 hour). In cooperation with Bruxelles Environnement.
Walking tours “From park to park” and “The gardener king”.