The Path To Enlightenment

November / December 2011

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The French have given us countless great writers and painters. They have also given us a living art that, while slightly less acknowledged, is no less beautiful or well crafted than a line of poetry. With its bold simplicity and inspiring clarity, the allée is a landscaping technique where a row of trees or large shrubs of the same species line a street or driveway, focusing the eye on a central point such as a house, park, or architectural feature.

“Allées were originally military parade grounds meant for riding horses, to guide them down a straight path,” says Henry Hughes, director of education at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. However, he adds, “When I think of the allée I think of Southern plantations.” An allée le...

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