In the French formal garden, a bosquet (French, from Italian bosco, "grove, wood") is a formal plantation of trees, at least five of identical species planted as a quincunx
A quincunx is a geometric pattern consisting of five points arranged in a cross, that is five coplanar points, four of them forming a square or rectangle and a fifth at its center...

, or 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
Gardens of the French Renaissance
The Gardens of the French Renaissance is a garden style largely inspired by the Italian Renaissance garden, particularly the gardens of Florence and Rome. King Charles VIII and his nobles brought the style back to France after their campaign in Italy in 1495...

 and Baroque Garden à la française
Garden à la française
The French formal garden, also called jardin à la française, is a style of garden based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature. It reached its apogee in the 17th century with the creation of the Gardens of Versailles, designed for Louis XIV by the landscape architect André Le...

landscape, the bosquet is an analogue of the orderly orchard
An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

, an amenity that has been intimately associated with pleasure gardening from the earliest Persian gardens of the Achaemenids.

Bosquets are traditionally paved with gravel, as the feature predates Budding
Edwin Beard Budding
Edwin Beard Budding , an engineer from Stroud, England, was the English inventor of the lawnmower and adjustable spanner.-Lawnmower:...

's invention of the lawnmower, and since the maintenance of turf
Sod or turf is grass and the part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots, or a piece of thin material.The term sod may be used to mean turf grown and cut specifically for the establishment of lawns...

 under trees is demanding (but see the modern bosquet at Amboise, right). The shade of paired bosquets flanking a parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

 affords both relief from the sunny glare and the pleasure of surveying sunlit space from shade, another Achemenid invention.

As they mature, the trees of the bosquet form an interlacing canopy
Canopy (forest)
In biology, the canopy is the aboveground portion of a plant community or crop, formed by plant crowns.For forests, canopy also refers to the upper layer or habitat zone, formed by mature tree crowns and including other biological organisms .Sometimes the term canopy is used to refer to the extent...

 overhead, and they are frequently limbed-up to reveal the pattern of identical trunks. Lower trunks may be given a lime wash to a selected height, which emphasizes the pattern. Clipped outer faces of the trees may be pleached
Pleaching is a technique to weave the branches of trees into a hedge or to form a quincunx. Commonly, deciduous trees are planted in lines, then pleached to form a flat plane on clear stems above the ground level. Branches are woven together and lightly tied...


Within a large wood a bosquet in another, closely related sense can be set out as a formal "room", a cabinet de verdure cut into the formal woodland, a major ingredient of André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre
André Le Nôtre was a French landscape architect and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France...

's Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

. These intimate areas defined by clipped walls of shrubs and trees offered privacy and relief from the grand scale and public formality of the terraces and allées. Often a single path with a discreet curve or dogleg provided the only access. Inside the bosquet, privacy was assured; there virtuoso jeux d'eau
Jeux d'eau
Jeux d'eau or "water games", is an umbrella term in the history of gardens for the "water features" that were introduced into mid-16th century Mannerist Italian gardens...

and sculpture provided allegorical themes: there is a theatre in the Bosquet des Rocailles. The bosquets were altered often during the years Le Nôtre worked at Versailles.

The bosquets of Versailles were examples of a matured tradition. They were preceded by simple squares of regularly planted bosquet alternating checkerboard fashion with open squares centering statues, outlined by linking allées in an illustration of an ideal grand garden plan in André Mollet
André Mollet
André Mollet was a French garden designer, the son of Claude Mollet—gardener to three French kings—and the grandson of Jacques Mollet, gardener at the château d'Anet, where Italian formal gardening was introduced to France....

's Le jardin de plaisir, 1651 . In Alexandre Francini
Tommaso Francini
Tommaso Francini, Thomas Francine in France, and his younger brother Alessandro Francini were Florentine hydraulics engineers and garden designers who worked for Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, above all at the Villa Medicea di Pratolino, where Francesco de Vieri described the...

's engravings (1614) of the royal gardens at Fontainebleau
Château de Fontainebleau
The Palace of Fontainebleau, located 55 kilometres from the centre of Paris, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The palace as it is today is the work of many French monarchs, building on an early 16th century structure of Francis I. The building is arranged around a series of courtyards...

 and Saint Germain-en-Laye, compartments of bosquets are already in evidence. In Jacques Boyceau
Jacques Boyceau
Jacques Boyceau, sieur de la Barauderie was a French garden designer, the superintendent of royal gardens under Louis XIII, whose posthumously-produced Traité du iardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l'art. Ensemble divers desseins de parterres, pelouzes, bosquets et autres ornements was...

's posthumous Traité du iardinage selon les raisons de la nature et de l'art (1638), designs for bosquets alternate with patterns for parterres.
In the eighteenth-century, bosquets flanked the Champs-Elysées
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is a prestigious avenue in Paris, France. With its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets and one of the most expensive strip of real estate in the world. The name is...

, Paris. In Paris, bosquets set in gravel may still be enjoyed in the Jardin des Tuileries and the Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg
The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Gardens, is the second largest public park in Paris The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Gardens, is the second largest public park in Paris The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Gardens, is the second largest public park in Paris (224,500 m²...


After a century of naturalistic landscape gardening and two generations of revived pattern planting some bosquets re-entered garden design at the turn of the twentieth century. The garden at Easton Lodge, Essex, designed by Harold Peto
Harold Peto
Harold Ainsworth Peto was a British landscape architect and garden designer, who worked in Britain and in Provence, France.-Biography:...

 inherited what was now called a bosquet but was originally a seventeenth-century garden wilderness, the "curious" English variant of the bosquet: "This ornamental grove or thicket was planted with native tree species approximately 400 years ago and originally included a path network of concentric circles and radiating lines." (ref. Easton Lodge)

Bosquets, unfamiliar in American gardens, but introduced in the Beaux-Arts gardens of Charles A. Platt
Charles A. Platt
Charles Adams Platt was a prominent artist, landscape gardener, landscape designer, and architect of the "American Renaissance" movement. His garden designs complemented his domestic architecture.-Early career:...

, were planted along the Fifth Avenue front of the Metropolitan Museum in 1969-70.

Typical trees employed for bosquets are fine-scaled in leaf, such as linden (Tilia cordata
Tilia cordata
Tilia cordata is a species of Tilia native to much of Europe and western Asia, north to southern Great Britain , central Scandinavia, east to central Russia, and south to central Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey, and the Caucasus; in the south of its range it is restricted to...

), hornbeam (Carpinus) or hazelnut (Corylus).

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