Whether you’ve heard of this or not, you might still be wondering ‘what on earth is it’? For some people, their garden is their dreamscape and the landscape is their living art creation. Arbor sculpture is the technique used to bring those dreams to life. In a nutshell, it’s a set of gardening methods that give recognisable form to plants and trees, creating art in living things by bending, grafting and training trees to grow in certain ways. It’s not a skill you can learn over night, but a beginner should still be able to create a simple design for personalised garden art.
What is Arbor sculpture?
Professional tree sculptors have been perfected their techniques for hundreds of years. When you think of the formal gardens of stately homes, you see evidence of plant and tree training, including topiary. A large arbor sculpture project can be years in the making, so isn’t a hobby for the impatient! If you’re unsure about the best place to plant or how to keep a tree healthy, speak to a Tree Surgeon Bournemouth. What is a tree surgeon? A professional in arboriculture so highly knowledgeable about trees!
The wonderful thing about arbor sculpture is you can let your imagination run wild. You can stick to the classic, traditional shapes or create something new, personal and totally unique. Designs are crafted over time using careful grafting and training methods. Also required is knowledge of how particular plants and trees grow.
Although centuries old, the practice enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to Axel Erlandson’s work during the 1940s. He was obsessed with tree shaping and grew around 70 trees that contained curves, zig zags, spirals and complex knots. Axel’s Tree Circus was a hugely popular tourist destination until he died.
So how is it done and what do you need?
It’s quite a demanding activity. It’s essential to begin with young trees that have pliable branches. One method involves grafting 2 parts of living material together, so they begin to grow as one. Another technique is known as espalier and involves the use of training with tying and staking to influence growth and shape.
Essential tools for the task include string, stakes, twine, saws, tree tape, pruners and loppers.
Some examples of good trees for sculpting include:
If you want to try it yourself, you’ll need to form a plan for your design. Understand the natural growth of the plant or tree in question and find a simple beginner project that’s achievable. Ensure you have the trees planted in a good area for growth.
Seeing an arbor sculpture come to fruition is certainly not going to happen overnight. You’ll need great patience and dedication to see the resulting glory of your efforts, but you’ll have fun and learn a huge amount on the journey.