Rue du Marché aux Herbes / Grasmarkt Brussels
GPS coordinates :
50.8465 , 4.3549
Partner :
This tree has been added to the WoodWideWeb atlas by The gardener at heart


Latin name :
Tilia tomentosa
French name :
Tilleul argenté
Dutch name :
English name :
Silver lime (UK), Silver linden (US)
Family :
Height :
Targeted height :
This species can grow up to 40 m
Diameter of the crown :
Trunk circumference :
Expected circumference :
500 cm
Expected longevity :
Can live for 1000–2000 years
Origin / Indigenous
South-eastern Europe, Anatolia
Favorite soil :
Favorite climate
Tilia tomentosa, Hempel.Belgian Federal State Collection on permanent loan to the Meise Botanical Garden

Features and characters of the individual

This lime tree was noticed by Jean-Louis Van Malder, passing by, going to the Grand Place, looking up. A gardener at heart, he is one of those nurserymen and horticulturists who have helped to bloom and afforest Brussels for years:

"At its birth, around the year 1000 AD, Brussels was only a marsh, small rivers, woods, fields, a few scattered buildings. In his heart was an open-air market. Everything was negotiated, from utilitarian items, haberdashery to secondhand trade and food. A profusion of basic necessities, including trees and shrubs, used a few streets away. This market has enabled the city's social and economic development in a context of greenery, parks, public and private gardens.

Then, the village metamorphosed, the living soil gave way to concrete, the woods and fields moved away, discreetly, not without leaving a trace in a street name, such as "La Pépinière", under the bark of a lime tree, at the corner of rue du marché aux Herbes, in the interiors of islets, in these small green oases surrounded by walls.

As the urbanization of what was to become a capital city progressed, the flame of this market gradually faded, leaving, at the beginning of the 21st century, only one horticulturist known as the "gardener" of the Grand Place. He belonged to the fifth generation of a family of producers who, seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset, supplied the corners of Brussels with plants, trees and shrubs where greenery found refuge.

The gardener also left in October 2016, leaving an empty space on the Grand Place. But his clients did not wait for him to leave to preserve the fruit of his work in their garden, in their groves, on their terrace; they will continue to sow, cut, plant, heal the living. Their learning is just beginning. Actually, the gardener didn't go far away. Has he even left? »


The Gardener of the Grand' Place, accompanied by a small group of plants, returns temporarily to the Square on the days of March 20 to 23, 2019 inclusive. To share once again with its customers, with the people of Brussels, its passionate vision of life. Then he will return to the organic world and his grandchildren. He offers us a book that deals with plants and humans, but also, implicitly, with the very substance of his profession, with thousands of trees and shrubs growing all over the city. He is one of those actors of the forest, discreet but very present, who question and enrich our project.

The meeting will be held in public on Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bibliothèque des Riches-Claires.

© PC-Z
© PC-Z
© PC-Z
© PC-Z
© Photo : Bruno Campanella – Patrimoine naturel, Brussels Region