In the spring of 2012 we were approached by a Belgian Landscape Architect, Frank Adriaenssens, who was interested in introducing an increased wildlife and biodiverse landscape into his landscaping projects in Belgium. Frank has a client list that takes him all over the world designing and project managing some impressive garden and landscaping projects. In recent years he developed an interest in wildflowers and he started to introduce them into his projects to soften some of the edges of some of the more formal designs found in the gardens of Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.
However, in order to do this, he knew he lacked a reliable method of delivering the wildflower areas. In the spring of 2012 he used his own garden as a guinea pig and installed 200m² of our WFT34 Landscape Turf to test the product.
Wildflower Turf being installed in Frank’s garden, 2015
Frank was delighted with the results:
Frank joined our Accredited Partner program in 2014. At the same time we agreed that he would become our sole distributor for Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg (BENELUX) and he has been using our products on various projects since then.
Last month, my wife Claire and I visited Belgium to see Frank and catch up with the projects he has worked on this year. There have been some excellent installations and despite the early season drought, you can see some of the results below.
Wildflower Turf flowering in Frank’s garden in June 2013 after installation in spring 2012. To give extra colour the area was under planted with Camassia bulbs.
Rose, Frank’s Weimaraner, inspects the meadow.
This roundabout was installed using Landscape WFT34 in the spring of 2015 in Knokke, north of Bruges.
Knokke, West Flanders, north of Bruges
In October 2014 over 1000m² of Wildflower Turf was installed at De Efteling Theme Park, this is the number one theme park in the Netherlands.
Wildflower Turf ready for installation at De Efteling Theme Park in the Netherlands.
Instant cover gave a well-established meadow for the opening of this section of the park.
The Symbolica Palace in the background
In April 2016 Frank used Wildflower Earth for the first time on a landscape design just outside Antwerp. 1400m² of Landscape WFE34 was used and following help and advice from us the installation was quick and easy.
14.4.16 Franks intricate yet practical design allowed for an immersive experience for the clients and quick and reliable results for Frank. Despite some weed pressure from surrounding fields, the preparation and installation gave excellent results.
18.5.16 Quick establishment is the key to a successful wildflower meadow.
17.6.16 The emerging meadow takes shape two months after installation.
11.9.17 Our autumnal visit this year showed the amazing development of the meadow in its second year of establishment. Frank had held off cutting this back to show us and the species diversity was superb. The fertile soil has resulted in a lot of growth but with a regime of cutting and removing, this fertility will reduce over the next year or two. Next year Frank will instigate a two cut approach for certain areas of the meadow to help later flowering species show their true colours and encourage some later flowering species.
Frank’s most recent project was to surround the new food hall at Ghent University. The 750m² of Landscape WFT34 turf was laid around the building in April 2017 and although it suffered in the spring and early summer through drought stress, it has thrived with the rain over the summer.
The Resto at Ghent University
The design remit was to integrate the building into the campus environment. Frank used the levels to form a bank of soil that rose to window level along the long panoramic view from inside the hall. The effect was to immerse the diner into the depths of the wildflower meadow whilst they sit looking out of the window. It feels like they are sharing their meal with the bees and the butterflies – although a pane of glass separates the two!
The panoramic view overlooking the wildflower meadow and the wider campus beyond.
We were really struck by the design of the building and the way the surrounding landscaped meadow complemented it so well. The fact that the diners could integrate with nature over lunch added an unusual and captivating experience to the University meal time.
The immersive outlook allows a close study of nature while the students eat their lunch!
On discussion with Frank, we decided that there was now an opportunity to promote the habitat, biodiversity and wildlife by including small interpretation notices on the window sills to explain the value of the species rich habitat and list the flowers and wildlife on view.
The building’s contemporary design is complemented by the wild look of the meadow.
We were delighted to see all the impressive installations Frank has been involved with and how well he has taken on our practical advice for the installation and maintenance of the products. Many thanks to Frank for taking the time to show us round. It was also very interesting to get an understanding of the promising demand for this biodiverse environment in this area of Europe.
Frank Adriaenssens is our sole distributor of Wildflower Turf in the Benelux region. His website is www.bt-bloementapijten.com and his contact details can be found there.