Hollow Tree OAK

One day i found a hollow part of a trunk along the Shropshire Union Canal. Somebody discarded it as no use for burning as the centre is half rotten and some of the wood was composted into soil. The idea to use it one day to plant it with a tree in it an old tree giving space to a new tree even feeding giving soil to the new tree. The hollow tree trunk lived for several weeks now on top of the roof looking a part of the small land-art garden.

The soil washed away during the travels but has been replaced once again with soil from a mole-hill and one of the small Oaks found her new home in it. Here it will grow for the next few months until we are back at the Shropshire Union Canal where she will be planted with trunk and all in the soil to grow.

the tree trunk

the tree trunk

From this came the next planting. An old tree trunk next to the Trend and Mersey Canal, a dead Willow. The last planting had a circle of willows around the Oak this time the Oak went into the Willow. Willow trees don’t grow old but do grow fast, at their end of life circle they become hollow and just fall over.

digging out

digging out

This Willow tree was wisely cut and left, it was a big tree with several stems. If you pollard a Willow it can become a good old tree but will also hollow out creating a brilliant habitat for wildlife while the tree keeps on growing. We saw many along the canals, they become real sculptures.

the soil mixture

the soil mixture

The Willow had a soft centre which i removed al the way down to the bottom and filled it with old coffee, tea and soil with plenty of stones for drainage. It felt like a sponge so soft and very wet, my arm was just long enough to come to the bottom. The little Oak went in, no need for water the surrounding tree trunk will act as a sponge while the rain can dribble away to the bottom through all the rocks. You can see the stinging nettle taking well advantage of the rotting tree-trunk. The nettles feeding in their turn the surrounding soil for any plant who comes along on the wind.

new tree in old tree

new tree in old tree

The Oak will slowly grow and become old, the tree-trunk will slowly but certainly rot away around the new tree. The soil can wash away from the bottom leaving some bare old roots but the Oak will grow on evolving in her own root sculpture. Before the root sculpture to appear many years will pass as nature has no haste. Around her some rocks were placed from the places she visited on her trip on top of the boat.

the rocks from the canals

the rocks from the canals

Sand stone from the Shropshire Union Canal, flint from the Grand Union canal from the Cassiobury park where one of her sisters grows now, a round pebble from the Coventry Canal. One pebble came from Trefin Beach the root of the bridge planting that I do.

tree sensation

tree sensation

Finally she got an inscription of tree sensations.

here we go again

here we go again

 

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BRIDGE 4

BRIDGE 4

We went onto the Aylesbury Arm of the Grand Union Canal to cruise into tranquility. There next to Bridge 4 i planted 13 Willows and 2 Oaks again as a part of the Bridge Land Art forest.

Cruising into the Aylesbury Arm

Cruising into the Aylesbury Arm

The weather was warm and the Willows and Oaks started to suffer in their much too small pots. The Willow were just cuttings in water, the growth on them was beyond the power of their roots in the water, they needed soil. In all the pots were 2 acorns therefor two Oaks a bit crowded for the young establishment.

Bridge 4

Bridge 4

I saw a perfect spot right by Bridge 4, so The Wånderlust was moored and i walked over the bridge whit my few tools and the plants. Right there amongst the tall grass spots of bare soil came bare and just with the help of a bulb-planter, holes were made just big enough for the small Willows to go in. In the centre of 9 Willows came a special Oak. At first it looked the pot had 3 Oaks but it worked out that one Oak sprouted with two stems. The beginning of a very special artistic Oak, just imagine in times to come to see these two stems growing into two thick trunks, pushing each other towards a site. I can imagine the arguments; lets go east to the sunrise yes me too oooh not enough space you have to go west, no way you go west, no i stay east, thats not fair why you why not me. The diplomatic trunk pushed the other into the south selling it as the best part to be with so much sunshine while it always  pinched the early sunshine, the vibration after the cold dark night.

Oak with two stems

Oak with two stems

The Willow act as a circle of protection as any grassing animal will go for the Willows leaving the Oak alone. The Willow leaves would feed the Oak some growing hormones by decomposing into the surrounding soil.

Willow

Willow

The weather stayed warm for several days not the best for the young trees and my mind was with them but they had to defend for themselves now, an important part of the Bridge Land Art Forest. Nature gave the needed relieve in the form of some big summer showers.

all you need

all you need

In Aylesbury the word spread about the young Oak trees while we had for several days our popUP Gallery. I made even some contacts with a community art centre the Queens Park Arts Centre. Next year i will give some workshops and have decided that one of the Oaks growing at our home mooring in Nantwich will be a part of the workshop.

planting

planting

While occupied with the Wånderlust cruising art gallery, i found out that one of my old neighbours grew 12 Oaks from acorns, which he will plant in the small forest where i made many pieces of land art. A fine example how the Bridge Land Art Forest can grow. While the political forces i Europe battle about in or out EU and the old nationalistic demands all of us can make a difference in our own small way. As a 100 people plant 12 Oaks each around the world 1200 Oaks will grow beyond the power of man and if we keep this up for 12 years we have planted 14,400 trees in 14.400 different spots making 14.400 unique statements. Think of the aspect if each of them 100 people can inspire an other 4 people to do the same we will have after 12 years planted 57,600 trees and if them 400 people inspire an other 4 people we would have planted after 12 years 230,400 trees planted by 1600 people. Just imagine a bridge of all them trees in a line on the land that would be 57,600 trees taking each 4 metres makes 2300400 metres of trees or 230 kilometres hats from Cardiff to London.

on our way back

on our way back

So you can see with a little effort and little resources you can make a difference that will be recognise for years to come. Each planted tree leaving a sculptural mark on the land.

 

HIDDEN

Today the first little Oaks went into the ground as a part of the Bridge Land Art Project. The acorn was planted last autumn, you read about it on this blog.

The little Oak in her pot

The little Oak in her pot

The last two months the Oak came along with us, on top of our NarrowBoat Wånderlust.
Two Oaks in this pot so it was time to plant one of them, even they only came up a few weeks ago.
It is amazing to see how much she grew already.

the plant and her root

The plant and the root

You can clearly see the acorn and how it sprouted out into a little baby tree.

acron

acorn

The acorn was planted in the soil of a mole hill and just near our mooring i saw a mole hill hidden under some green. It is at the edge of a beautiful forest park along the towpath.
The spot for this little tree.

het plekje

het plekje

The clearing began and the collection of rocks to keep the soil of the mole hill in place. While working some people past asking what i was doing, so I showed the little tree. Now this tree has some local people who will keep an eye on her to make sure she keeps on growing.

Around this area, you can find lots of brilliant flint rocks. The beauty of flint is the many shapes and colours it comes in.
In the early morning i went out in the dew to look for rocks and dew drops.
While looking i found this bizarre mounts in the middle of the forest. No idea why, no idea what, yet they are made on purpose. Somebody has been creative, helping me to find plenty of great stones.

 

One mount after an other mount of dug up clay, what else can you say than hidden confusion.

hidden confusion
from within she reappears
warm
with a tingle in her toes
no need to hide
or
—…..—
she looks back
hidden
confusion
never mind the muddy hands

Oak on rocks let her grow

Oak on rocks let her grow

There 4 more Oaks on the roof of the boat waiting for an other good spot. One of them will be planted with a circle of Willows, which are also on top of the roof.

 

FLOAT

FLOAT

Wandering along the canals while wondering how to approach The Canal and River trust, I thought it would be good to make something to show them.  Willow grows along the canals and rivers naturally, most Willows like wet feet. While looking and thinking this surreal apple comes  floating along in the canal. So the idea for Float was born.

Willow is such a brilliant material, you can make so many things with it.  It has evolved by creating lots of growing hormones, rooting powder used to be made from Willow. It grows quick back after cutting it back, even when you cut it back to the ground. Willow is on the menu for many animals so to survive all this eating it just grows.

I made a Willow bridge by twisting some Willow branches together, which will grow one day as one. The surrounding branches were cut to make in a floating piece of art. Taking and giving while knotting the bridge together with jute. The knotting can be very relaxing almost like a therapy to work out all your problems in your head by drifting away  like the apple going where ever the streaming takes you.

The towpath along the canal has a walking trail called the Weavers Way. So the Willow branches were woven into a kind of fence. An Apple would have been lovely but hard to make into a drifting poem. Now the poem would be a problem which material to use to make it float, a floating poem as part of my many land-art poems. I use slate to write on but is a bit heavy.

willow weaving

The poem became a Haiku with 5-7-5 syllabus in 3 lines.

FLOAT

for a better mood

drifting to solitude

an apple moves

float with apple

Autumn created one big drifting circus on the canal with fallen leaves. Float with leaves and apple into the water but leaves and apple float faster than willow and slate.  The apple became a party for the geese, how to eat a floating apple.

float geese

 

geese party

 

 

 

apple gone

Leaves and float did meet again at the lock, than some final preparations to make the float look more like a boat and the final FLOAT floats away on the canal.

float in leaves at sluis/lock

float at the lock

 

floating land art

 

 

final float

the string to stop it from floating out of control *_*

The Canal and River Trust and boater will not like to see more debris floating in the water. The propellers on the boat get stuck with all these bits and pieces around them. So Float ended up as a fence and in the future will become a living fence as the Willow starts to grow.

float als fence

standing strong as a growing fence

Willow is very good material for free trees to plant as land art for the Bridge project, it is like growing art material for weaving willow sculptures or arty baskets. No matter how much you cut it it will come back and give you more material for art.

float closeup

closeup

 

So became the beginning of planting land art with poems. Now put it all together for a good proposal towards the Canal and River Trust to get permission to do the work.
The material is free, my time is all for promotion of Wånderlust the floating gallery. I am therefor very hopeful to get the permission, to prevent that all them wonderful young trees will get mowed or trimmed to the ground.

9 tiny OAKS

The best time to collect your seeds for planting trees for the BRIDGE LAND ART FOREST project is the autumn. You don’t need a small fortune to create a forest, take the time to collect and it will not cost you a penny.

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storm coming

Embrace yourself and go out, autumn weather has sun and rain – perfect condition for collecting seeds to grow trees.
When I went out today I was very lucky and found just what I was looking for. Tiny little oaks, which are not oaks yet but are sure to become oaks in the spring as the acorns germinated already.
It will be hard to grow oaks from acorns if you don’t find ready germinated acorns, trees seem to be particular in when they want to grow and the germination is the start. In them small seeds a true chemical ‘factory’  is hidden that reacts to the light and therefor to the weather. Trees can’t walk away so they need to germinate at the very best spot. Underneath a different tree or right in the middle of a forest a young tree has to compete for nutrition and light and the chance of growing is therefor little.
An acorn usually waits for birds or squirrels to pick it up drop it by accident in a suitable spot. Humans can take over the bird’s role and look in the right spots for germinated acorns.

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a collection of germinated acorns

At the edge of the forest or a hedge is the best spot, just look under fallen leaves. When you see tiny little roots coming out pushing the acorn open collect them together with some leaves and transport them in a plastic bag.

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the tiny root pushing her way out into the world
to become one day a giant Oak tree

If you are just as lucky as me you will find the perfect soil for planting these little beauties, at your feet in the form of a mole hill. The moles have done all the hard work for you by making the soil fine and pushed it up for you to collect. The soil comes from a lower level with a good source of nutrition not too much, not too little.

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mole hill soil

If you like to include some trees that feed animals and humans look for some wild fruits. While you eat the fruit you keep the seeds and plant them. It is a lot harder for them to grow so a good excuse is to eat lots of wild fruits; often they are healthier than their tame cousins. Autumn the time to build up that immune system ready for winter.

Image

damsels (wild plum)

Trees and plants can’t walk away from climate change effects and we see more and more uncommon diseases. The best remedy for this is diversity. So if one gets effected by a disease others will survive. Not just diversity in the variety of trees will help but also in their gene-pool. Many trees we buy are from the same parent tree as big nurseries take lots of cuttings and seed from one tree only and grow them on in protected environments. The result is 100% success and no waist but weak trees.
A good idea is to collect the seeds in one place and plant the trees away – even far away – from the collected place, so you create a more diverse gene-pool. Most of the oaks these days in the UK came original from Europe after the ice-age. Northern Europe was replanted by acorns from Spain as nature doesn’t take any notion of countries and their borders.

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planted acorns

To grow the trees any container will do as long it has plenty of drainage to prevent a swimming pool effect. I place the acorns on their sites cover them with a little soil topped with some leafs. Store them outside and leave them alone; just check they have plenty of drainage. A good idea is some protection with netting material like old panty hose or an old net-curtain to protect them from hungry mouses or birdies.
Now you have the whole winter to look for a good spot to plant them and to think about the land art you will create with them next year.

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*_*

The nine tiny oaks that I planted today will find their final spot somewhere along a canal in the UK. It is the begin for a forest made as land art, planted by humans with the help of nature in this case the help of an oak tree and a Mole.

I have made contact with the Canal and River Trust to work together with them. At the start of this project in May I had no idea that it would lead to planting trees along the canals whilst cruising.  Life can turn strange corners and you end somewhere you never expected to be. Every dark cloud has a silver lining sometimes in the shape of tiny trees.

Als je deze herfst lekker in het bos gaat wandelen kijk dan naar de grond en niet omhoog. Kijk uit voor die kleine eikels op de grond en zeker die eikels die al een heel klein worteltje hebben. Je hebt dan zomaar een heel klein boompje gevonden die jij kan planten als een onderdeel van de BRIDGE natuur kunst.
Bomen planten als kunst en het kost je geen cent echt niet.
Als je verder kijk dan vind je misschien ook nog ergens een mol heuvel nou neem mee die grond want dat is zwart goud voor de eikels.
Thuis bij de kachel en met warme choco maak je potjes van wat je maar leeg heb knip er gaatjes in grond erin en de eikels en  hoepla klaar. Zet ze lekker buiten met een netje er over heen tegen hongerige muisjes en nu geduldig wachten tot de lente.

under the black
lays the source of feeding gold
waiting as art

any questions please ask in the comments next to this please share when we have 1000 people with 9 tiny oaks we have a forest with 9000 oaks

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yes i did get wet but look what came with the rain

The BRIDGE, land-art forest

Last night I got the idea:
The BRIDGE, a new land art project which involves the planting of trees creating a thousand little and big land art forests all over the world. An ambitious project that can happen with the help of many people becoming land artists in their own environments.

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

an old oak tree as a piece of art, where culture and nature come together for the future

It all started when i went to Rhôd where artists talked about future, nature, culture. A question which has been on my mind for a very long time is: ‘How can culture become nature for the future?’. The land art project Vagdavercustis gave me an answer: work with trees. This project taught me many lessons and i want to share them so there will be many land art forests all over the world.
The idea is not art in the forest, but the forest, the trees, being the art. You can plant the trees in certain patterns on the bare land, creating art with nature for the future.

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

planting trees in a pattern, every white rock becoming a tree

A good idea, yet there are many perhaps and maybes. Here comes my knowledge and the learnings from Vagdavercustis useful. As with everything it will cost ‘money’ yet it will pay itself back in a very different way.

When Joseph Beuys created the 7,000 OAKS art project he made everybody an artist and the piece went further than just seven thousand Oaks. Whilst throwing 7000 basalt steles in front of the main location of the 1982 “documenta” in Kassel he took an entire city with all politicians and citizens as hostage; this ugly pile of grey stone was such a thread that the first thousand oaks were sold in no time. Beuys had the power and will to force society – or culture, so to say – into doing something valuable for the environment. A great idea and you can find all these oaks, each one together with its rock, al over the city.

However i am not Joseph Beuys and will have to work dam hard to get this kind of power he had at the end of his life. So i almost gave up, a well a good idea.

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

Hindmarsh Island Bridge

The above photo is the Hindmarsh Island Bridge and you can read the story about a very controverse building on wikipedia.
So last night i lay in bed to watch the Moon travel by, thinking about how to help and how all them good people with all them very good ideas never get a chance, people are so unfair to the people of the land. My mind went to the time i visited the people of Camp Coorong , the Ngarrindjeri people, the disaster about the building of the bridge and how they solved it in the end by buying a boat to get to their sacred land on Hindmarsh Island.The Ngarrindjeri people didn’t gave up, didn’t have much funding, but continue to care for their beautiful land.

the Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

The Coorong with a watchful dog looking at the far away Pelican.

How many people do feel just like me, being frustrated and angry and have given up stopping bridges to be build to develop more and more land for human usage.
So my mind went to “mindfullness thinking” in the now –  the future nor the past – but now. How can i plant trees now?
I thought about  somebody who just grew trees in the backyard and every spring he went with trees on the back of the bicycle to plant them in neglected areas or cleared areas in forests. We all could do so: direct action, for nature, creating art. We can plant them in patterns, we all can link together like a bridge creating a world wide bridge from culture to culture, a bridge from culture to nature. All these pieces of land art, tree art, forest art would have their own stories of their environment and their creator.
Nobody needs to be an expert; me and others could give advice how to plant the trees, when to plant them and how to choose a good spot. A website could be created with photos of all them pieces of art, all those bridges.
The website would show how to grow trees from seed or from cuttings even in a backyard or where to buy bare root trees. And how to look after them the first 2 years when they are adjusting to the environment.

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

A bridge as a connection at Trefin Beach

Yesterday i made this bridge on the beach and when i walked back i came across an area perfect for some BRIDGE planting. I have 2 self seeded little baby trees in the garden who are not in the best spot; I will take them out in autumn put them in pots and plant them  again in the spring. A small stone bridge will come between them, like the above one, that made my heart smile and it made me sleep like a Rose.
So was the land art project BRIDGE born.
I might spend some time to create a website and to start the ball rolling – ready for next spring planting.

For the big land art forest, that i have in mind i need more time and i was still not so sure about it. Than the newsletter from Ecotricity, my power supplier, came in with an article about their new project: “Green Britain Foundation”. I will get in touch with them and talk about my ideas to get another ball rolling. I need a good land owner who would like to give a piece of land for the planting of a land art forest and the rest will come with it.
This is just an early step, a seed has been planted, it will take time to grow.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?