In 2008, while locating specimens to create a multi-colored blossom tree for an art project, artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken had the opportunity to acquire a 3-acre orchard from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Fascinated by the practice of grafting trees since a young age, Aken began to graft buds from the 250 heritage varieties found on the orchard onto a single stock tree.
To create the Frankenstein-esque tree, Aken worked with stone fruits (fruits with pits) like peaches, plums, apricots, almonds, and nectarines. Over the course of five years he successfully grafted dozens of plants onto the same tree, and with that, the Tree of 40 Fruit project was born. Because of their similarities, all 40 fruits bud, bloom and fruit in near perfect unison.
Aken has since grafted at least 16 different “Trees of 40 Fruit” which are planted across the U.S. in places like Newton, Massachusetts; Pound Ridge, New York; Short Hills, New Jersey; Bentonville, Arkansas; and San Jose, California. Each tree is specific to its environment, using both local and antique varieties.
National Geographic recently met up with Aken to interview the artist about how he makes each tree. You can hear him talk about the project in the video above. (via Digg)
While walking through a public park in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France photographer Steve Hughes stumbled onto this fun installation of marigolds spilling from a giant paint tube. He says it was also accompanied by a large picture frame that was also filled with blooms. Good stuff. (via StreetArt Germany)
As part of a promotional campaign for Wonderlijk Wild (Miraculously Wild), an effort to encourage home gardening in Belgium, filmmaking duo Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels of Marc & Emma were hired to create this wonderful short about a felted green ape exploring the outdoors. You might remember their work from this other woolen animation featuring two doughy wrestlers for the National Animation Festival last year. (via Vimeo)
Update: An earlier version of this post referred to the film as “stop-motion” when in fact it’s actually live-action puppeteering.
The Whirling Dervish was a willow sculpture by artist Trevor Leat that was installed in 2012 at Shambellie House, in New Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Leat is known for his work with willow trees which he grows organically for use in furniture, baskets, and sculptures. Unfortunately, Shambellie House, which housed the National Museum of Costume, closed in 2013, so this piece may no longer be viewable. (via Colossal Submissions)
Zen rock gardens are typically composed of carefully placed rocks, surrounded by sand that is raked to represent water ripples. They’re supposed to inspire a meditative state of calm and relaxation. They’re not supposed to inspire hunger and a sudden urge to put it in your mouth. Except this one does because it’s made of entirely edible ingredients. “In cities today, people do not have the luxury of gazing at gardens,” says Japanese designer Tomonori Saito, lamenting the loss of one his nation’s most relaxing pastimes. So he decided to create “Shin-an-ji Rock Garden” made from black sesame (the rocks) and sugar (the sand). Now you can have your garden and eat it too. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Plant care comes in many forms. For some of us it’s enough to keep a few potted plants hanging on for dear life on a windowsill, while others indulge in the joy of pushing lawnmower around every few weeks, or maybe even keeping a garden. But John Brooker of Norfolk had a horticultural vision unlike the rest of us. For the past 13 years he’s hacked and trimmed and molded the 150ft-long (45.7m) hedge outside his Frizzleton Farm property into a massive dragon complete with flowing tail and wings. Photographer Damien McFadden (also on Facebook) recently stopped by to snap these fantastic photos of Brooker at work. All images courtesy the photographer. (via Neatorama, BBC)
Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal is an international mosaiculture competition held in Montréal, Canada. According to their website, mosaiculture “is a refined horticultural art that involves creating and mounting living artworks made primarily from plants with colourful foliage (generally annuals, and occasionally perennials).” The 2013 competition and exhibition opened June 22 and runs through September 29 at the Montréal Botanical Garden and features some 22,000 plant species and cultivars distributed throughout 10 exhibition greenhouses and 30 themed gardens.
You can see hundreds more photos over on Flickr, however all photos here are copyright Guy Boily courtesy MIM. If you liked this, also check out the Bloemencorso parade in Zundert, Netherlands.