Where Is The Best Place To Buy Nursery Furniture Uk Axel N Erlandson’s Tree Circus

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Axel N Erlandson’s Tree Circus

Axel Erlandson and his Circus Trees have fascinated people since the 1940s. Axel was very forthcoming about his tree shaping techniques. When asked, he said, “Oh, I’m talking to them”. There is much speculation as to how he shaped over 70 trees into amazing shapes. These trees would become roadside attractions called the Tree Circus, the trees are now commonly known as circus trees. Some of his trees have been given individual names such as telephone booth, knot tree, cathedral, diamond, picture frame, needle and thread, basket tree and many others.

He finds out how he did it.

Axel seemed to enjoy working on a large scale using timber trees such as sycamore and elder. Later in life he tried several other types of trees.

Old photographs reveal the elaborate framework Axel assembled to control growth, the photographs reveal some of its mysteries. If you look closely, you can see a series of small wooden blocks that guide the growth around the curves. In one of the photos, he reveals the construction of a new frame that is added to the existing design to further guide the tree when it grows that far. He also used wooden spacers to hold the design in place until the trees could be carried.

Axel practiced the gradual shaping technique. In his daughter’s (Wilma Erlandson) book, My Father ‘Talked to the Trees’, she wrote: ‘When the tree trunks were very young and flexible, he shaped them as he wished.’ Wilma also talks about the role of framing in the tree shaping process. Instead of forcing the trees into position, as one tree builder advised, Wilma talks about a structure that supports the trees. Quote from ‘My Father “Talked to the Trees”‘ “They were then held in place by a frame for several years until they were strong enough to stand on their own.”

Modern tree shapers that use a gradual shaping technique are GrownUp Furniture and Pooktre. On the website GrownUp Furniture by Dr. Chris Cattle’s guide to shaping trees.

http://www.grown-furniture.co.uk/how-to-grow.html

Where are the trees now?

Although out of Circus Trees’ lives, there was a lot of media attention about them. They’ve appeared a dozen times in Ripley’s, believe it or not. They continue to appear in the media around the world. Axel never trained an apprentice, this meant that as he grew old and withered, he was unable to care for his trees. After years of trying to sell his trees, he negotiated their sale in 1963. He died just a year later at the age of seventy-nine.

After Axel’s death, the trees had a number of owners. Disney tried to buy them, but lost interest when he found out how much the owner wanted for them. During this time the trees slowly died from neglect. In 1977, Robert Hogan bought the land with the trees he lived on for development. Joseph Cahill, a landscape architect, gave Hogan $12,000 for the trees and was given two and a half years to remove them.

Around this time, young architect Mark Primack went to great lengths to ensure the survival of the remaining Circus Trees. Mark was awarded an art grant to draw them and immortalize them as they were. He went onto the property without permission to tend the trees and water them. He became an ardent advocate for saving Axel’s trees. His campaign to have the trees recognized as a historical or cultural resource failed. Mark maintains an interest in circus trees and the potential they represent. In today’s world, he is considered the leading tree expert Axel Erlandson. There are several photos of Axel’s trees on Mark’s website

Finally, in 1984, Michael Bonfante proceeded to purchase trees for a horticultural theme park. He moved 24 trees to a new location in Gilroy, which was called Bonfante Gardens Theme Park. If only they were happily flourishing and open to the public today. Bonfante Gardens later changed its name to Gilroy Gardens.

Wilma Erlandson’s My Father Talked to the Trees is available at Gilroy Gardens.

To see photos of Axel’s Trees go to this page http://www.markprimack.com/pages/tree_circus/tree_circus.html

A history of Axel N Erlandson’s tree circus and some other interesting trees.

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