FOREST Land Art

FOREST   land art

Why making a forest as land art?
The answers lay with the trees, not just their beauty, strength, adaptability but:

Tree clean the air from dust, co2, important as we know.

FOREST Air cleaners

AIR

 

Trees help with the water management on this planet, while we turn and turn around.
By all means trees are the best in using solar energie.

 

FOREST water

Water

 

Trees provide food, wood, shelter and do i need to say more.

yes

 

TOREST hidden beauties

Hidden

 

The hidden beauties, the shelter, all for us to discover in their small corners.

Therefore creating a forest is more than planting a bundle of trees.

It makes it possible for us to give something back to nature, to create a gift for nature.
The FOREST will become Community Art for nature.

 

 

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What is in the name of a TREE

Hedge Clegyr Boia

Hedge above a hedge

So many people said you can’t grow trees here, so many times they said you can’t grow that tree, but the trees did.
There is still a general notion in Pembrokeshire that you can’t grow trees there. It is even used as an argument in planning regulations of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Yet, you will find trees growing all over Pembrokeshire, even right on the coast.

Beech and Pine Clegyr Boia

who said i can’t grow here

The list of trees you can grow in such an exposed area should be limited. After reading lots of books about the subject and looking at the landscape, certain tree came definitely on the list.
Others were a pure tryout. The above photo shows a Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) with an old christmas tree. Both trees planted as a tryout.
The Beech was planted in 2003 but it did little to nothing. The X tree was planted in 2005 and suffered but started to grow after just one year.
In 2010 the Beech decided to follow and this photo is taken on 11 May 2012 showing both trees healthy and with lots of new growth. The top of the Beech is a bit weak and hangs down, perhaps it was a bit too greedy.

Flowering Apple Tree

yes Apple can

So many of the other trees proven them all wrong as well. This Apple tree was planted within a shelter facing south and still today provides lovely Apples.
By an old house, which once served as a small country pub, stand some very old Apple trees in the shelter of some Ash trees and Privet (Ligustrum vulgare).
The privets were not cut for a long time and became open trees, still providing enough shelter for the Apple trees.
Learning from the old the new was planted to grow the same way.
On the northern part of the globe it is handy to have the trees sheltered from north and east and facing south. On the southern part you best provide shelter from south, the heath and not the cold.
Make a kind of horse shoe shelter with shrubs and trees.

bramble and young tree

Bramble letting through a young tree

So started a new forest thinking which went well beyond the planting of some trees.
Maintaining 16 acres of land while involved with other Land Art projects and not to forget bringing up a child is a challenge.
Parts of the land had to defend for herself, with some surprising results.
Whenever you go to a blog or website about forestry, you will read about the ‘nasty’ Bramble. A very invasive plant by the looks of it. It literally walks over the land as new shoots grow up at first, then bend down and make new roots for the next step onto the land.
You can cut and pull as much as you want but they keep on going on. In the end just a path was kept free by bending the Brambles back.
One day while doing a routine check i came across a young tree pushing through the Brambles. The tree was never planted it came on its own and was grown over by the Bramble but this seems to help rather than hinder.

Native with NONnative

Native with NONnative

There are many trees and plants for that matter which can be called invasive no matter what their nationality is.
It is a discussion held on many levels in many places about native and nonnative.
An other blogger is giving lots of information about this discussion to prevent the cutting down of a wonderful forest in the name of nonnative tree forest must be replaced.
At times i looked at this issue but did as with all the rest went on and let the trees decide.
The native can live and do live happily next to the nonnative when you give them a change. It is my opinion that diversity is more important in a forest than the native only.
Perhaps the monoculture has created this issue more than we let on.
The Eucalyptus you see here come from that part of Australia which has a similar climate as Pembrokeshire. There are over 700 different Eucalyptus all having their own strength and way to grow. The Eucalyptus on the land are all small Mallee trees, there are even Eucals who don’t grow much bigger than 2 metres (7 feet).
This experience will not stop the discussion but the trees have changed my mind about the native nonnative issue.

treessunrise

All these lessons have taught me one thing look at the trees in the forests to learn and be surprised.
The trees of Land Art Forest will be many of many different kind benefitting the forest each in their own way. Some will be there for fruits and nuts others for their flowers and nectar and other for their amazing looks and some for their wood.
This forest you will see because of the trees as they will not be planted in lines of one variety. All forest are made by trees, Land Art Forest will be trees.

 

 

 

PRIMEVAL FOREST

 

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.

regenerate

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.

SEEING trees

treestrefin

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

vision

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.

VISION
reflection
on the eye,
rejected by
culture
influenced by
time
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

celebrate

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.

 

land art forest

 

a drop in the ocean

The photos will always be related to LandArt, documenting that vanishing moment in LandArt. It comes as no surprise to go from a photo back into LandArt.

The organisers of the exhibition ask me to give a talk about my work at Clegyr Boia in Wales. How can a drop relate to 6 hectare of land, perhaps the feeling of really being just a drop in the oceaan while you know you should be so much more than a drop.
The little feed the big and the big feed the little, we forget, we give up before we start, feeling so little among the so big.
All them little drops form an oceaan, without a drop no oceaan. Remember, many little create a big.

mushroom power

LandArt alters the landscape, sometimes just a moment, sometimes forever. The artists have a dialoog with nature in a landscape and from that dialoog flows a sculpture which alters that landscape.
They add something to the landscape or they intervene in the landscape or they act in the landscape.

a shape at the edge

The LandArt at Clegyr Boia became a landscape. The lessons learned there on that plot of land act as a basis for the next piece of LandArt. A concept that will be used for several pieces of LandArt, all around the world.
So the photo exhibition will be the onset for something much bigger than a drop in the oceaan.
Trees will play a major role as they always play a major role in so many different landscapes. Trees are the backbone of a landscape.

Tree Flag

Learning from past mistakes, learning from past failures, moving into achievement.
A book will be written about the experience at Clegyr Boia with at the end how to move them experiences into an achievable LandArt Forest.
The notebooks came out of the cupboard, photos are searched and gathered an idea takes shape.
Research starts, into books, newspapers and internet to make the idea grow.
While writing about the past contacts are made for a network of people and organisations to add onto that base of a forest.
New notebooks come into action and in November there will be more than just a drop in the oceaan.
The exhibition has been moved to November 2018 at Alcoutim in Portugal.
To create time.

distance looking

 

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 roof garden

the roof 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

 

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.