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In the French formal garden, a bosquet (French, from Italian bosco, "grove, wood") is a formal monoculture plantation of trees set in strict regularity as to rank and file, so that the trunks line up as one passes along either face. Symbolic of order in a humanized and tamed gardens of the French Renaissance and Baroque garden à la française landscape, the bosquet is an analogue of the orderly orchard, an amenity that has been intimately associated with pleasure gardening from the earliest Persian gardens of the Achaemenid Empire.
Upon walking though these manicured grooves and their well defined pathways that run along various axes it can be observed that planning is an essential part of french formal gardens and the bosquets in them. The idea of the formal garden comes from the european mentality of having control over nature. To the Europeans, these gardens were a symbol of order or in other words harmony and balance, and these were the very qualities that they wanted to instill in their kingdoms. To them order and balance could be achieved through control and power and this was evidently reflected in the way they nurtured their gardens. Thus the planning of these gardens was not only to demarcate the pathways that lead one to the palace or pavilions within the gardens but also something that could be revered from the palace windows and balconies.
These gardens were tucked far away from the public front of the palaces and could only be accessed by the royals and the high ranking members of the court.
Water is another important element of these gardens. Pathways tend to run along or merge at a stagnant water body (such as a pond) as opposed to gushing water thus being a metaphor of tranquility and harmony.
Bosquets are composed of avenues of clipped trees that lead one to a central open space. Typically these open spaces house fountains and sculptures . The effervescent nature of these fountains is used to juxtaposition the formal and orderly demeanor of the formal gardens, thus bringing about an element of surprise. Here, the royals would host plays, parties, and other activities of leisure whilst being within the arms of nature and far from the responsibilities of the court.
As priorly mentioned bosquets are monoculture in nature and commonly make use of the Linden trees. Linden trees (Tilia spp.) make attractive landscape plants due to several appealing traits,
It blossoms fragrant flowers during summers
Bears fruits that do not attract insects
Low-maintenance requirements and cleanliness since the trees don't generate much leaf or berry litter
hardiness and adaptability to a variety of soils and environmental conditions
the visually appealing form.
They are also ideal for clipping and shaping into various forms given their thin branches ability to grow upto 50 to 80 feet in height with a spread of 35 to 50 feet on reaching maturity.
While walking through a bosquet one can come across various textures, such as the ones composed by the foliage, the changing ground quality, the stone elements such as the fountains and sculptures, etc. The ground is also used to demarcate and lead the path that helps one transition from the palace ground to the gardens themselves. It is typically observed that the structure is placed on a raised platform and as one steps down from the plinth they enter into a graveled ground which then gradually leads them on to the soil and subsequently the lush green lawns.
Another important aspect of bosquets is that you get a very strong sense of solid and void. While the solids of the foliage symbolise the order and harmony that the royals tried to achieve with their power, the voids lead one into the open spaces where this power was then flaunted through soirées, grand fountains, sculptures and pavilions. However it is interesting to note that this solid form of the bosquet (based on the type of trees used) looks completely different during the fall and winters when the trees shed their leaves and a level of transparency is achieved these groves where one can see through them and get an idea of the expanse of these gardens.
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