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Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

Posted by drasaid zone 9 (My Page) on
Mon, May 6, 02 at 22:13

Hey! Has anyone gotten the book available through this link
called "How to Grow a Chair"? It is way cool; I am sorely tempted to buy the book even though there is practically nowhere I could do any of the stuff except on small scale. Somehow the manipulated trunks move me far more than clipped leaves do.

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RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

Sure, order the book if you are the type of person who enjoys fussing with plants. It will introduce you to the world of pleaching which is interesting and can become a life long hobby. I have not read this particular book but understand it is a good one on the subject. If you enjoy the process and the results you will find room in your yard to play around the technique....somehow. And, I would comment that I am surprised this Forum is not more active. There are so many creative ways to do topiaries and I keep hoping that the warmer climate gardeners will begin experimenting with some new ideas.

I got the book! It's great!

It really is, even if I never do any of the stuff. It is really interesting; info on how to slow down/speed up growth in particular branches, and really interesting photos. Really, reading it one would belive you could grow any shape at all. I am wondering about a Paulonia chair-I could grow it, then cut it down and polish it up without ever having the horrendous huge Paulonia around. (just kidding, I don't know jack about Paulonias and suspect I'm not even spelling it correctly. I'd probably start with willow.)
Check out the site. It is cool. The book, by the way, is a smallish paperback with b&w pictures, but neat.

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

When you look at the Arborsmith site, be sure to check out the link to Axel Erlandson's Tree Circus. Axel was ahead of his time!

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

So... is anyone trying anything?

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

I braided three guava trees, and I have a swamp bay I have growing in a spiral (two branchs circling a tube, I'll remove the tube later). I tried making a chair out of curly willow but as the pieces that had rooted were too thick I think I'll just take that one apart and try with whips. I think the most successful stuff is the simplest. I got the book called "Growing a Chair" but really I have not gone too far with it.
It does look neat, what I have; it is not a whole lot of work. The worst of it is that you have to have structural members to tie the plant to while it shapes; these are not aesthetically pleasing. I'm going to try more (when I can. I work in containers!)

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

anyone in upstate ny interested in arborsculpture? I'm about to begin my first arbosculpture house/hut.I'm on 4.5 acres of wooded land with heavy clay soil, and a high water table.I'll be working with weeping willow because I figure it is the fastest growing of all the trees I have already ( free cuttings from 4 huge old granddaddys).
I'm looking for anyone interested in trying this first hand and anyone in my area who has already done any arborsculpture who could offer any tips.

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

hey drasaid: I would love to see photos of your guava trees and the swamp bay. Maybe you can post some? I haven't seen the book yet, but I've seen photos of the tree circus trees. I think they're amazing, though I'm pretty sure I don't have the patience to work on something that takes twenty years to become so dramatic. Still...

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

Well, the closest I've come so far this year is daily directing of my moonvines to weave them into the back slats of an old wooden chair. And I have about 10 baby maple trees in pots, waiting for me to get the right idea. LOL I know, that doesn't count. I think I will try some mini-sized things since my yard it pretty small.

Any interesting developments over the summer?

Only some braided guavas, and a Pomgranate

I want the Pomgranate to be more like a standard but I can't bear to cut it; so I'm doing an informal braid effect. It's all small (under four feet now.) That's how good things start, though, right?

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

I just saw and read an article about this. Wow, what fascinating stuff. Check this out from Inhabitat:

Here is a link that might be useful: Inhabitat VIDEO: Grow a Treehouse with Terreform

RE: Arborsculpture; ultimate topiary

Those of you interested in working with arbosculpture need to learn two grafting techniques; pleaching and bridge grafting.

Plus, there is a third type of grafting knowlege needed which is very seldom mentioned but a close study of Erlandson's Tree Circus trees shows that he was using it. I do not know if there is a name for this method...but, here is the technique used only on deciduous trees.

Best to practice on young saplings in the early spring just before the sap begins to rise. Drill a hole all the way through the tree trunk in a spot where you wish to grow a form. Now, take a flexible branch growing on the same tree, bend it and insert the tip all the way through the drilled hole pulling it out on the other side by about 6". When you are certain that the drilled hole has healed and the inserted branch is growing well cut the inserted branch off on the trunk side of the branch and the tip end will continue to grow and be ready for shaping or bridge grafting onto the next part of the design. This method allows one to grow branches where needed and create intricate patterns.

Since I first did this post, I have lost and gained trees

what with Katrina and all.
A new thing I read involves bonsai; cypress Bonsai Twister.htm
I had admired this tree for years, and finally read in a big bonsai book how he did it (I forgot the name of the book! Sorry)
He had a welder make a copper frame, the shape he wanted the trunk.
Then he got LOTS of little cypress whips and tied them together at the base.
Then, he pressed them around the frame and wrapped them, trimming as he went, keeping some branches and using the tips of some as branches . . .
He did not tie anything directly to the frame.
Then, he removed the frame!
He then put dirt over the roots and left it to grow. The little whips grafted into the monster tree you see.
Now, this is neat, but I envision doing this to full size trees. Any reason it would not work?
I'll try and get the title of the big bonsai book!

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