Greening II in the Garden which is Green (or in Dutch) Groen
When doing the tourist thing and pounding the streets of Antwerp I discovered this sculpture. Are they descending or growing? I thought they were growing until someone mentioned descending. The clue may be in the title "Greening II" by the artist Monique Donckers. She says that in painting you can create a world but sculptures must create their own world, and this one certainly does. Maybe it depends on the time of year how you view it, in spring or autumn.
Here they are glimpsed from the back by the fish pond. Monique Donckers I learn has a handful of sculptures dotted around Antwerp. Strange how one always finds out things after you have left a place but I suppose it does mean there is something new to see if you return.
This is definitely a place to return to, a little oasis of relaxation in the city where you can sit and watch the gardener at work tending his A for Antwerp.
You can see what time of year I visited with the tulips full out and a
bee trying on a bluebell hat for size.
Now I may have gone clickety click at all the tulips but this garden contains much more. It is called the Plantentuin (Plant Garden) or Botanical Garden. It was created in 1804 for students of the School for Surgery, Chemistry and Botany which was housed in the St Elisabeth Hospital and at that time grew only medicinal plants. Today there are flowers, trees and around 2000 herbs but more than that it is also a popular place to relax on the benches or just walk through and enjoy the green space.
The greenhouses are not open to the public but I did peer through the window and spot a nice display of cactus.
Here are the plant labels ready for the summer plants to appear by them and a lone statue of Peter Van Coudenberghe (1517-1599) , a pharmacist and botanist who is famous for writing about the medicinal use of plants and herbs, he listed and described more than 600 different plants and explained how they can be used. He also kept exotic plants which were protected during the wintertime by placing them in underground storage, unfortunately this garden was destroyed by the Spanish Army during the Siege of Antwerp (1584-5). Like the garden the statue itself was nearly destroyed. 262 years after his death a statue was erected in 1861 to celebrate his pharmaceutical contributions but was damaged during the first world war and moved to a warehouse. Not discovered again until 1996 was what was left of the statue was restored and placed in this peaceful corner of the Botanical Gardens in Leopold Street, Antwerp.