Trees Bomen in Land Art, the start

At the last Land Art Bos meeting it was suggested to write some blogs with advise and tips for doing Land Art.
Other artists provide suggestions in using their media to express yourself. OK so here we go.

blogkalewortel

bare root kale wortel

TREES, were to start, lets start with planting.
Now is a good time while they are doormat ( in their winter sleep) to plant trees and shrubs, in the norther part of the world.
Many people ask me where to buy trees, good nurseries are hard to find these days and therefore you have a good change to get pot grown trees. Pot grown means the tree is tucked in the pot for much too long, the roots have turned and turned inside the pot with no room to explore.
Some nurseries still transplant their stock in bigger pots from time to time, sadly most don’t. The best way to avoid this is to buy bare root-stock ( kale wortel).

Here is a site which explain perfectly why and this one in Dutch.
At times i go around to rescue trees from nurseries knowing very well they have a big change not to grow. When you have a pot grown tree with turned roots cut them free, see it as pruning of roots, also unwind the roots as much as you can.
Just like with paint when you get the good paint you have half the work as with bad paint. The bad paint you need to work on to get the same result in your artistic use of it.
The difference is trees are alive and therefore deserve the extra work to rescue them in my opinion.
STILL the best way is to grow trees yourself from seeds or cuttings. Yep, most painters do not make their own paint. When you do it give you a change to be more creative with the ‘paint’ TREES. Confused, well this is Land Art you work with nature which is so different to the abstract motion of brush and colour.

An other important issue is the canvas in our case the soil, which come in many shapes and conditions.
You know we chuck lots of good soil producers into the bin like coffee and tea, but that’s for an other day.
A very good soil conditioner is mushroom compost or better to say spend mushroom compost. It is the leftover from mushroom growers and has many good minerals and vitamins for plants.

 

blogkale

new fruit garden

 

Still don’t use it every year on your canvas. To be honest most trees only need something extra at planting point just to give them a good kickstart after that they find their own way.
Personally i only use that extra help when planting fruit trees and shrubs so they provide me with some more fruit. The above photo is from my allotment, even their you can grow in a more creative way. BELOW

 

blog3allot

Do you want to bleach your canvas or leave it more natural the choice is yours.
As you can see the first lines have been drawn on the blank canvas even this will not be the most creative use, more the edible ability will count here.

Questions are always welcome and this will not become an other gardening blog. Still exploring how to achieve Land Art courses for the back garden.

 

 

 

euCALL

euCALL

Re-silence what was said, in morning light.

Aussies

 

So much is said, so many are telling about the genius called Eucalyptus (tyalla).  Where do you start, when there are over 700 Eucalyptus species? When you see one you don’t see them all, it will take more than a morning to recall them all.  LIST

One thing stands high above water, they are tough. You can find an Eucalyptus under some extreem circumstances; with their roots under water or on the rocks. They have been around for a long time, coming and going in New Zealand for example. The last coming was with ships under the sails of human beings taking them all over the world. At times they had been there before and than left.

small

This happens in a odd way again. In Wales we grew Eucalyptus from seeds, only them species who could handle the climate and environment of the land Vagdavercustis. Exposed to salt winds and the extreems of wet and dry not to forget the cold. The species which did perform very well come from the cooler parts of Australia, like the mountains in East Australia.

seedlings

Surprisedly some of them are doing better in Wales than that they are doing in their native home land. The ‘Eucalyptus parvula’ is almost extinct and the ‘Eucalyptus crenulata’ is listed as threatened in the home-base yet both are doing very fine in Wales. They seem to move from New South Wales to Old South Wales.

hold on

Some of the trees have lignotubers which look like odd lumps at the base of the tree which function as a reserve for the tree to grow again after severe damage. You can cut the tree down to just above the lignotuber and it will grow again. Very handy when you want to use it for Eucalyptus oil.

together we go

The fast growing makes them such a money makers for an industrie of tissues.

Yes, i want to plant some Eucalyptus in the Land Art Bos Spiral, they are beautiful and tough but they have to share the space with many other trees.

Here a link to an other blogger who is busy saving an Eucalyptus forest.

 

 

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.

TREES

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.

gossammer

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

back

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.

 

 

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

 

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.