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.


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.


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




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.



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.



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.




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.

floating apple

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.

float bridge

twisted willow knotted together

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.

float knot closeup

closeup from the knot

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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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