The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Public Walks in Belgium

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196. In planting public walks, the Belgians do not, as is but too often done in England, think it enough to squeeze the trees into holes cut out of hard and sterile soil, and barely large enough to contain the roots, and then to leave them to their fate. During much of the winter of 1826-7, many workmen were employed in digging out the sandy soil round scores of the trees in the boulevards of Brussels, which, though fifteen or twenty feet high, and three or four inches in diameter, were not so luxuriant as the rest, and replacing it with rich black surface mould, of which, as the holes were ten feet square and above two feet deep, each tree had subsequently, allowing for the mass of earth left round the roots, at least 150 cubic feet to strike its roots into. Equal attention is paid in pruning their trees. All the branches too crowded, or crossing each other, are cut off close to the stem, as well as several of the lateral twigs from each branch; the whole head of the tree, both branches and spray, being kept thin and well balanced, and particular attention being given to preserve one central leading shoot, by cutting off the one least upright, when the tree has parted into two.