This towering ginkgo tree is located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains in China. Every autumn the green leaves on the 1,400-year-old tree turn bright yellow and fall into a golden heap on the temple grounds drawing tourists from the surrounding area. You can see more photos here and here. (via F*ck Yeah Chinese Garden)
This stand of bent pine trees known as the Crooked Forest is easily one of the strangest places in Central Europe. Located outside of Nowe Czarnowo, West Pomerania, Poland, the nearly 400 trees are widely agreed to have been shaped by human hands sometime in the 1930s, but for what purposes is still up for debate. Each tree is bent near the base at 90 degrees, a form that could possibly be helpful in boat or furniture making. Strangely enough, every tree is bent in exactly the same direction: due North. A quick search online reveals a host of conspiracy theories ranging from witchcraft to energy fields.
Update: Thank you all for your many, many suggestions about the trees. We’ve heard everything from floods to furniture to fire. There still doesn’t seem to be a consensus.
Artist collaborators David de la Mano & Pablo S. Herrero have unveiled mural after mural this year from Winter Haven, Florida to Gdansk, Poland. The duo uses only black paint to create elaborate silhouetted figures of trees, whales, and human forms. You can see much more of their recent work here. (via Colossal Submissions)
For his series of experimental photography titled Impermanent Sculptures, photographer Vitor Schietti worked with fireworks and long-exposure photography to illuminate the branches and stems of trees in his native Brazil. The photos are a mixture of in-camera light painting, and a bit of post-processing that can combine up to 12 shots into a final image. He shares with us about the project:
The series is the result of several years of research on long exposure photography, and the usage of ND filters was vital to find a perfect balance between the fading twilight and the brightness of the fireworks. Only a few attempts were allowed per day, since the time frame during which this balance is possible is very narrow (30 to 50 minutes). The Brazilian central plateau, in a kind of savanna called “Cerrado” was the scenery for most of these experimentations. The margins of the lake Paranoa, the streets and some iconic monuments from Brasilia were also locations for some of the light paintings. It’s important to say the series is an ongoing process, and more will follow in the coming year or so.
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.
Located in the same island country that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed is a structure that, like the hill-secured homes of the hobbits, also seems to hide within its natural environment. The Tree Church is formed almost entirely from living trees with thick leaves covering its shady interior. The New Zealand-based church can seat a hundred people and was first planted by Barry Cox on his property near Cambridge beginning in 2011.
The original inspiration behind the structure was a means for Cox to “retreat from society.” However, after others caught word of his living church as it grew into completion over the last 4 years, he decided to open it and the surrounding gardens for public and private events. The Tree Church is now set within three acres of extensive shaded gardens, including a labyrinth walk based on the ancient city of Jericho from 460 BC.
An iron frame is at the core of the church, as Cox wanted the walls and roof of the natural building to be distinctly different, “just like masonry churches,” he said. Cut-leaf alder was chosen for the roof as it is flexible enough to be trained over the frame which will be removed when the branches become strong enough to support the church themselves. (via Faith is Torment, Inhabitat)
Since we last mentioned Tensile tents around this time last year, the company has unveiled several new models of their fantastic suspended tent systems. There’s a small hammock for three that can be layered into a multi-tiered treehouse, a 2-layer tree tent, and a massive communal tent system designed to hold 6 people high in the air. Tentsile was invented by designers Alex Shirley-Smith and Kirk Kirchev in 2012 and have since taken the camping world by storm, opening their own factory and picking up an ISPO design award. You can see plenty more here.