Belmonte Arboretum

And then there is Belmonte! In my opinion, this is the prettiest arboretum in the Netherlands. Luckily, the second hotel we will be staying at is also right next to the park so any spare moment we will have, I will go there and look at the rhododendrons, the azaleas, the apple and pear trees, the roses, the magnolias and the dogwoods.

Belmonte is situated right next to the 'Nederrijn', but everyone just calls it the Rhine. The hill on which Belmonte rests, was created in the last ice age and the view is stunning. In the 2nd World War both in 1940 and during operation Market Garden, many of the trees and the house were damaged; the damage on some of the trees is still visible today. The house at the Belmonte estate was nothing more than ruins after WW2 and was therefore taken down.

In 1951, Belmonte was purchased by Wageningen University, then a agricultural university as an addition to it's own botanical garden. Belmonte arboretum opened its doors in 1954. Today it's its own entity.

Belmonte is where the National Rhodendron Collection is kept. The first part of this collection was done in the early 1950's by the university; part two was done in 2003 with the help of the Dutch Rhododendron Society. The one thing I'm impressed with is the older collection of hardy Ghent azaleas..they are stunning!

In addition to the rhododendron collection, Belmonte also maintains an extensive rose collection. This collection left over from the old botanical garden of Wageningen university itself was in disarray. By rearranging the roses in a more chronological order, they are better presented towards the public. 

I could go on with picture after picture but will leave some of this to your imagination. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise. 

You can find more information hereThe information is in English although the website has a lot of moving parts which makes it a little overwhelming at times. What I do like about the site is that you can find pretty much every plant that's been planted there and you can also find out what will be in bloom around the time you'll be visiting.  Check the tab 'collection' for more information.

 Nederlandse Rhododendron vereniging

Dutch chapter of the ARS