Gerda and I would like to thank the organizers, Carole and Emile, – and we think we can speak on behalf of all participants – for their drive and organizational talent which resulted in a wonderful day in Bouillon and the surrounding area .
We will not lightly forget the blissful and sunny moments we spent in the “Bouillon Blanc” garden, accompanied by its passionate creator Hugues Fernet who walked us around, telling us endless stories on the numerous trees, shrubs and so many other plants and vegetables we encountered.
We will certainly remember the blooming white and pink cornus trees, the red and orange patches of daylilies and common lilies, the different hydrangeas, the slender high growing purple and white foxgloves standing on guard from all sides in the vegetable garden/orchard, the blue and white borages or starflowers and many other herbs, the lovely poppies and of course the romantic vistas on the outstanding scenery of the undulating high grounds surroundig the Semois valley.
All participants enjoyed hearing M Fernet, an inexhaustable source of wisdom and knowledge on gardening, sharing practical skills on how best cultivate certain plants and combat pests while at the same time giving weeds and biodiversity an important place.
Quite amazing were also the different wooden cabanes or garden sheds with their herbacious roofs. And let’s remember the thought written on one of the many pieces of local Ardenne slate: “Ne te hâte pas, ne te torture pas l’esprit . Tu n’es ici bas que pour une courte visite. N’oublie pas de t’arrêter pour respirer les fleurs” ( Walter Hagen).
The cold dishes which were served for lunch, with many ingredients from the garden, were delicious, as well as the local beers and lemonades. No wonder that M. Fernet caters for a number of high class restaurants in the area.
The theatre room was also an ideal venue for our AGM during which our chairman Jan Grauls gave us in a diplomatic and results oriented way an overview of past and future activities as well as the functioning and finances of our association. We all thank him a lot for this.
And finally we cannot forget the guided visit of the Bouillon castle, situated on a rocky spur of land within a sharp bend of the Semois river.
There we learned about the role of the castle from the early ages until Bouillon became part of Belgium, the different fortifications and how they were defended, the purpose of the long and narrow passages.
We learned that Godfrey of Bouillon sold his castle to the bishop of Liège in other to finance his participation in the First Crusade; about the ambivalent role of the duke when conquering Jerusalem in 1099; about the later fortification of the castle by Vauban, Louis XIV military architect, in the late 17th century; the almost fatal destiny of the castle under the Dutch reign. A pity though that we could not see more of the birds of prey demonstration. Thanks again to Carole and Emile for this unforgettable sunny day.