I spent a beautiful spring day last week in one of Brussels’ most fairy-tale-like places: the botanical garden Jean Massart.
This little piece of biodiversity sits in a picturesque valley bordering the E411 highway and that famous chunk of Brussels forest called the Sonian Forest.
Of course, I wasn’t there just for the picture-perfect flowers: I was there to do some scouting for a potential new – and pretty exciting – project. If we get it all figured out, we’d be using this beautiful garden as our laboratory for an important research question: can botanical gardens play a role as microclimate refugia in urban areas?
Requirements for this are two-fold: a vast range of microclimatic conditions, resulting from a highly heterogeneous landscape, and a high biodiversity.
If all goes well, we’ll find both these requirements fulfilled at the botanical garden Jean Massart, but the extent of both remains to be quantified. That’s all I’ll say about it now, so stay tuned for hopefully the start of something new and promising!