Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to Design a Bosque

A bosque is a grove of trees. Some mimic the forest, while others are more formal. Trees are spaced regularly, or more randomly. Bosques are evergreen, deciduous, or both. Larger bosques often have more kinds of trees. Trees planted in a grid may be underplanted randomly with shrubs & perennials. This technique was used to good effect at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, also at Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich. Large bosques grace many European palace gardens. Smaller bosques are lovely in all (except the smallest) gardens.

1 Choose the site. It will most likely lie in a corner of your property line. Allow plenty of room. The area should be at least 15 feet wide on 2 sides.

2 Choose at least 5 trees: all the same, or 2 different kinds. Also choose any number of shrubs, perennials & groundcovers for the shaded ground beneath the trees.

3 Buy lots of compost. You can order it by the truckload from Cedar Grove, or buy it in bags, Cover the garden site 2 feet deep. Plant in the compost.

4 Buy the plants. No single nursery will have all of the plants you want & need. Call around. Look in the phone book under Nurseries.

5 Space the plants at appropriate distances. Find out how big these plants will get. Give them enough room. If you don’t, you will have to remove them later. Plant trees 5 to 10 feet apart, depending on their ultimate size.

7 Cover open ground with mulch. Buy shredded bark, put mulch from your compost pile or worm bin over open spaces in the garden. Always mulch around new plantings. Keep mulch under 2 inches deep.

8 Patrol the strip regularly: become territorial. Pull up weeds. Water regularly during summer. Replace dead plants. As the trees grow, enjoy the shade they provide.

9 Buy pruning tools. You need pruners, loppers & a folding pruning saw. Go to a big hardware store. Cut off dead & broken branches. Learn about pruning. Buy a book which illustrates pruning & other gardening techniques. The Sunset Western Garden Book is good to start.

Trees for Bosques
Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
Acer griseum (Paperbark Maple)
Aesculus californica (California Buckeye)
Araucaria araucana (Monkeypuzzle)
Nothofagus antarctica (Southern Beech)
Pinus densiflora (Japanese Red Pine)
Quercus suber (Cork Oak)
Sequoia sempervirens (Coast Redwood)
Sorbus alnifolia (Mountain Ash)
Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar)

 Design for a Small Bosque

A = Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
C = Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’ (Slender Hinoki Cypress)

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