Located in the West Flanders region of Belgium, the Domaine du Ooievaar is owned by Geertrui and Olivier Vico since 1997. They restored the derelict farmhouse and gradually conceived different rooms within the 2 ha garden; their aim was to create plenty of botanical interest at every season, including winter. Structure seems to be the prominent element in the areas close to the house. The orchard, surrounded by clipped hornbeam hedges, features long lines of fruit trees that are underplanted with galanthus nivalis and white narcissus. But when wandering along the Domaine, visitors are also hit with bursts of colour, fragrance and texture. Olivier is a keen galantophile and his collection gathers around 200 different varieties, including the Belgian native, Galanthus sharlockii. He also grows new cultivars which he has found 'in the wild'. Olivier has planted a large number of snowdrops on a bank by a stream at the edge of the garden. These are dotted around clumps of cyclamens, winter aconites, witch hazels and hellebores.
In 2007, further down the garden, Geertrui and Olivier created new beds dedicated to unusual shrubs and trees; these include birches, snake bark maples, conifers and willows. Full article by Jacky Hobbs available.