juggle Forestry

how old farmland became new

The land art projects on the land at Clegyr Boia, Wales enact an illustration, model for The Land Art Forest.
On 25 November 2002 me, doggy Stamper and my chickens moved from The Pumpkin Shed Walled Garden to 6 hectare (16 acres) of land at the foot of Clegyr Boia.
Clegyr Boia is a rock which was one of the first settlements in Wales.
Farmers had used the land for centuries and the last years in a very intensive way, leaving the soil bare and tired. The above photo shows the land under plastic covering for the growing of early potatoes. Some of that plastic, most likely, is floating around somewhere in the plastic soups of the oceans.

just the beginning

The idea behind this project was to create a balance between nature and culture, with Land Art.
The best way to describe it would be: ‘recreating nature with culture’.
So many people express their doubts, giving me advice, but i had my own ideas. On the small field (photo above) i would experiment with my own ideas. On the other fields i worked together with conservationists.
The first year i thought many times, this is never going to work as i discovered how sad the soil was.
The land lays on a peninsula exposed to the salty coastal-winds which dried the land out in the summer and in the winter the land stood exposed to rain which washed lots of soil down the drain.


I started by creating circles, one large circle in the middle surrounded by 9 smaller circles. Each circle told a story with plants about the surrounding landscape.
The whole had an embracing hedge which i planted with bare root shrubs and trees.
Many different trees and shrubs were planted to see which one would perform the best under these circumstances.
Well, except for one they all survived.


The above shows the progress in one circle called Gossamer. In the first year the poor wild roses just hanged in there, 2 years later the lovely driftwood stick had to be placed onto  a log to stick her head above the roses.
The stones in the middle came all from the land, bucket by bucket i got them while seeding.
In 2008 the rocks had to be placed on a high pile to make space for the roses and 4 years later i had to prune the roses to make space for the rocks.

seeding heather

If you look closely on the photo you see a small green wheelbarrow filled with heather cuttings.
Next to it i stand with a lovely job to chuck the cuttings in the air for random landing.


the result



The top field has lots and lots of stones, large and small, all over the soil and in the soil.
The farmers used to remove the rocks with a machine before seeding, only to plough more up a season later.
The field lays on a slope which did help the rain to wash a lot of soil down.
Therefore we chose this field to be returned into a heather field.
Yes, it was hard work but the result made it all good.
This field was created together with the help of conservationists.

It shows that we can give back to nature what others took/take away from nature. It is so wonderful to see how a site recovers and how nature enters where it once was forced out.
The chemical residue was high, intensive agriculture does not tolerate nature at all and use a large selection of chemicals to spray it out of existence.
Yet, it returned in all her glory in not a long time scale and with limited costs.

heather nectar


I can tell you so much more about this and i will, the message i want to give here is how nature does recover and how trees grow against all odds.





Back to expo thinking, there is no way you can fit a Land Art Forest into a gallery, so forget trying.
The exhibition will contain photos, but how and what keeps floating around in my little idea book.
Where is clear and the room with walls, doors and windows is clear, but the filling and connecting it to the Land Art Forest ……..


a photo of a photo on a sculpture inside the mind of an avatar

inside water
drops within drop
a drop in the ocean
without a drop no ocean
what we see has become a competition of what it should be

flow 21

an other invisible flowing drop

When you observe physical entities, with your observation, they changing their character                (Werner Heisenberg)
free from controle of reason
expressiveness force
creating an image rather than recording it
don’t see what others want you to see
let water and wind play with it

flow 9

flow 9 it is all in your head

For one expo the photos are selected, the medium is still questionable, only need 5 photos there. These 5 will also be a new card serie.
The cards must sell so selection happens in an other way. My more artistic photos do not sell good enough.
The expo in Portugal will not be for sale, creating more freedom of artistic expression.

painted drop

painted drop

Transport is an other issue to consider in the creative progress. Certain ideas dropped of as the small needs to fit inside a suitcase.
Printing a photo on a piece of paper feels not good, gives no expressiveness.
Macro photography seems the opposite of the Land Art Forest of 1 hectare, yet without that small world no forest.
It all starts with one drop.

How to display the beauty of the small to realise the big as we see so little. Our realities alter constantly, so many medias, so many ways.
The budged limits several options, such a pity, the imagination needs no funds but the realisation can’t happen without the dirty word, money.

Somehow some order will appear inside the chaos
one day it will happen
it will all come through




River Edge

Primeval Forest on our planet is perhaps not existing anymore as we humans have touched every bit of forest.
Yet, new primeval forest starts to appear there where humans leave nature alone.
A wonderful example is Broadbalk Field by Rothamsted Experimental Station, South England.
In 1882 the farmer left a winter wheat field, not even harvested the wheat, alone. The field had to look after itself without any help from humans. Four years later the wheat plants, except for 4, made room for other plants, 40 different plants had moved in, 21 years later 57 ‘wild’ plants were counted.
This experiment shows us how nature moves into an area which is just 0.2 hectare. The field had been farmed since 1664 and perhaps even longer and all around are agricultural fields.


In 1915 a grove had developed on the land with mainly Oaks, Hazels and Brambles, slowly but certainly the land converted to forest. It became an example for many other areas. Close to where i live, there is a small new primeval river forest. The area has been left alone, meaning has not been managed, people walk and talk here all the time. It is right along the shores of one of the most busy rivers called ‘De Lek’ one of the main routes from the big harbours from Rotterdam to Germany.
The forest takes no notice of all the passing boats and just moves in while writing this.

rooting in

It is a damp place to be and all trees need to deal with wet feet, they grow amidst Reed and other water-edge plants.
The young trees are all self-seeded and some fall over or are eaten to feed the rest of the trees who still stand.
Only a very few trees are old trees all the rest moved in on their own, it is not an ancient forest. Most old forest was gone by 1300 in the Netherlands only a few bits were spared, mainly along the rivers or places harder to make into farmland.

dead feeding the living

Now at many places we turn back time as we move towards an other future by leaving areas to defend for themselves.

It  shows how nature can recover even after a long time of cultivation. Most of the rivers here were almost dead rivers due to pollution coming not only from own ground but also flowing down stream from Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and further afield.
The environmentalists made a great difference and the rivers are recovering from the pollution for centuries. There are now strict environmental laws in place preventing pollution as much as it can.

making ways

We can give back to nature what we once took away.
We can speed up the time it takes to recover by playing wind and bird by spreading seeds and planting sticks.
All it takes is time and patience.

oeps what is this

It is wonderful to experience them little surprises.

Centenary Tree


Centenary Pine Tree of Mazagon

Centenary Pine Tree of Mazagon

When you want to create an edible landscape you start with an edible kern, which you seed instead of eat.
During this festive season we eat plenty of edible nuts inclusief the Pine-nut.
In Europe and the middle east the most used pine nuts come from the Stone Pine also called Umbrella Pine. Some of the old tribes used to plant these trees for their edible nuts.

Stone pine


The above two photos are from the same tree found in Donana National Park in South West of Spain.
It shows you how a little pine nut can grow. One of the most spectacle trees around in this park,  yet the trunk is only 50 centimetres tall but the crown is 23 metres in diameter. The way this beauty grows prove some courage worth celebrating.
Sadly this beautiful area had a heatwave fuelling a big fire, consuming many edible seeds. The trees are known to have adapted for fire by creating a thick bark protecting the living centre of the trunk.
The fire might create a new spurge of life in this area, time will tell.

ice in the sunset


The time seems right to think about them trees we took inside to celebrate, what to do with them. A cut tree can only provide a short moment of pleasure, the best option than is to put it in a wood chipper to be used as ground cover.
Them trees in pots can be planted but many of them will not survive due to the wrong procedure.
They need to be harden of to get used to the cold outdoor again before we plant them.

xmas tree planting

hardening of

Just put them outdoors during the day and indoors in a cool room during the night. You can also put them on a balcony or even in an open window.
Next to this you need to keep them moist with a plant-sprayer filled with soft water.
After a few days you can repot it in a larger pot which you put outside or dig in partly in your garden, this way you don’t need to water it.
Next year you can dig it out again to celebrate again, after few years you should plant the tree in soil and let it grow big and strong.
When you replant it carefully loosen the roots all around so they can grow again. A very pot grown tree can’t be repotted but should be planted direct in the soil.

After this order some seeds of the Stone Pine so the next generation of Centenary Trees can start, year after year again.
Many seeds will create a forest.
Here you find some tips how to grow them.
Next year, i will visit this Centenary Tree in the hope it survived the fire and with me come some baby trees to be planted.

tear dream




SEEING trees


Perhaps not

The hardest thing for this blog is to choose the photos to show here, there are just so many.
A tree as art is nothing new and so many trees show that they are capable of doing just that.
The question stays are we ready to see trees and other plants for what they are?

Charles Darwin showed us already long time ago that trees and plants are much more than passive ground covering.
People were not ready to hear or see it in them days but can we see it now, not so sure.

tree growing in old factory wall

growing where ?


Yet, many of my photos show that Darwin stood only at the beginning of things and  many scientists have developed his theories further.
While walking you can see the power of plants where ever you walk and when you stand still to look you see even more. Trees made me scratch behind my ears with ‘how is this possible’ growing against all the rules?

Are we ready now to see it, or will our vision stay hidden.

Vision ball


Our way of seeing is influenced by so many things and for such a long time we see the natural environment divided.
One way we see it as some ‘fairytale’ making it almost holy and the other way we see it as something to be owned and used or at least controlled.
Many believe nature is there for us humans only.

on the eye,
rejected by
influenced by
you or me

tree on the rocks

on the rocks

A book written by Peter Wohlleben makes us see trees from a different perspective and according to the sales of the book many of us do agree.
At times the book still go towards the dreamy reflection, at other time he shows the scientific prove.
Talking to people you hear it makes them uncomfortable, some say: so what can we eat now when plants are seen as intelligent.
People forget that plants have been eaten for as long as they exist and so has animals. We don’t need to feel guilty about eating nature, plant or animal as that is nature.

woven willow growing on

why not

In a human made landscape nature still survives, when we alter nature it carries on while we look the other direction.
One site destroyed nature in fast moving actions, the other site creates nature while we read, write, talk.
We all can create nature no matter where, no matter the size, no matter with who, no matter with what.
Perhaps the time has come, we can go behind the rules laid upon us and see past them rules and regulations.

tiny creeping willow

small foot print

So many different species of trees we hardly see as they grow natural so tiny long before we humans invented Bonsai. Who made them rules again?
Winter solstice stands before the door once again a time to plant a tree no matter how small.

tree planting a christmas tree


Planting a tree to celebrate the returning of the light in the northern part of the world and the return of the dark in the southern part of the world.
Even when we all plant the same kind of tree in all different environment, under all different circumstances, with whatever climate it will grow.

look at this

See you next year wishing you all the best for these festive days no matter how you celebrate.


nEw ways to sEE nature

seeing drops

new discoveries while on your knees


Many people say to me; my photos made them look differently to nature, they now see things closer. When you take your time and sit down, you will see something different no matter where you are.
Our eyes have their limitation and our brains fill in the rest, but who tells our brain what to see. The manipulated photo of what we want to see, according to who ……?
Is it the artist, fashion, media or our surroundings?

novel ecosystem

down the beaten track


As a land artist you need to know your material just like any other artist does. A painter knows her paint, the brushes, the underground, the sculptor knows their wood, stone, iron. A land artist find their art-material in the landscape,  where ever that landscape is you will find nature there.
It is often said that land artists have a dialoge with nature, using no words or signs. They alter the landscape with material found in the landscape. At times these alteration last just minutes at other times they last years.

planted landscape

created landscape


In a way they create a connection between culture and nature, which is not always appreciated.
Some artists travel large distance to find them special ‘wild’ places to create their art, to spread their wings in unknown territories. Sometimes their inspiration comes from nature herself, many times it comes from who pay their travel expenses.
All of them make us look at nature in a different way.

Pink Rocks

natural sculpture


We always intervene in nature, humans have been changing their environment since they walk on 2 legs. Out of them interventions come new ecological systems, creative driven ecosystems. (Novel Ecosystems)
How do we divine nature? Them landscape which has not been touched by humans? We have changed the chemistry of the air, the chemistry of water all over this planet.

human made wilderness

wild or tame?


One destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things (Henry Miller).
In Europe we altered the landscape for many many years and them altered landscapes are now natural wonders in their own rights.


planted giant


We actually can give something back to nature, we can create with nature new ecosystems with a new way of looking at nature. Areas which were once planted by humans and than neglected become very unusual but beautiful places to reconnect with that nature.
Nature doesn’t care about nationalities, the wind seeds them plants no matter where and no matter where the mother plants come from.

water buffalo

an allien


Perhaps this WaterBuffalo in Pembrokeshire should not be or perhaps it always has been but just went for a long holiday.
The non natives often help to create that environment the natives need to survive, lets call it natural balance.


created landscape


The above photo shows a landscape made by mining and sheep farming, is it therefor no good? Is what we see here no nature?
It is now a national park where they try to keep it in the way it is. Perhaps the national park should let nature decide what it wants to do with this new landscape.

Land art can certainly create new landscapes by working together with nature.

Novel land art

how old farmland became new

In the next blog i will show you more about this piece of land in Pembrokeshire.

It stands model for the new to create Forest Vision







the bigger drop


Non orientable surface concept closely related to projection is the casting of shadows.
If the wire frame from a cube is lit from above the resulting shadow is a square within a square, with the corresponding corners connected.


Black reflection of a forest

it is a tree

Our vision is limited, we only see a small area of our vision, what we can’t see is there.
Our focusing ability is limited, however our brains fill in what we don’t see.
When you observe physical entities with your observation, they are changing their character.

there are shadows

tree in water or the sky


Our reality could be a simulation off ……….  It helps us to deal with our own incapacity to see what is before the beginning and what is behind the end.
The Greeks called it Horror Vacui; fear for empty, nothing exist, there is no driver.
Progress in our intelligence to do so, development of our technologie to do so.

hidden for our eyes



Representing inner reality, feeling combined with thinking, silent memories, silent moment.
Simulation done by others is easy to believe and to explain as it doesn’t focus on our inability to see certain things.
We detect movement more than stillness, contrasting colours.

leaf in mid air leaving



As our minds fill in, who fills in our minds, the camera, the microscope, the movie or the person behind, a book or the writer, the newspaper or the journalist, the frame or the picture.

being in a bubble

the forest


Thanks to a book i realise why we don’t always want to see what there is to see. It put our own vision in a question with several answers.
We don’t see the plants in the details, we can see them, they form a green blur in the passing. We focus on animals, humans, we focus on the centre, contrast.

Plants are all around us under our feet, above our head, left, right, middle, small, big.
Plants fill our air, our water, our soil. Plants live on plants in plants under plants.

Making art with plants you need to learn to see them.


tree flag

Tree Flag

While thinking about the Land Art Forests i have not forgotten about the exhibition and how to show feelings within thinking.
While doing so, the path is filled with new perspectives even in the new sciences of plants. A new way to see nature a way to create nature a way to give nature.