The Tree of 40 Fruit is an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees by contemporary artist Sam Van Aken. Each unique Tree of 40 Fruit grows over forty different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. Sculpted through the process of grafting, the Tree of 40 Fruit blossom in variegated tones of pink, crimson and white in spring, and in summer bear a multitude of fruit. Primarily composed of native and antique varieties the Tree of 40 Fruit are a form of conversation, preserving heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available.



Today the Department of Teeny-tiny Treasures is marveling at this exquisitely detailed miniature food handmade by French artist Stephanie Kilgast, aka PetitPlat. Kilgast uses polymer clay to sculpt 1:12 scale dollhouse miniatures of so many different kinds of fruit, vegetables, bread, and sweets that we wish we could shrink ourselves and play with them inside actual dollhouses.

For 2015 Kilgast decided to challenge herself to sculpt a one miniature fruit, vegetable, or root each day. You can follow her progress here on Tumblr at dailyminiveggie​.

Visit the PetitPlat website or Instagram feed for many more photos of Stephanie Kilgasts incredibly wee creations. She also shares tutorials and behind-the-scenes photos like this:

[via Design Taxi]


Living Structures: PLEACHING

A plant is considered to be ‘inosculate’ if it is self-grafting; if the branch of one individual will, as the result of gentle abrasion, form a living bond with the branch of another individual, or with another branch of the same plant. When this grafting is aided or initiated by humans, the process is called 'pleaching.’

In mediaeval Europe, in areas where annual flooding endangered human settlements, the pleaching of inosculate trees was employed as a solution to what otherwise might have been an insoluble problem. The trees were planted on a grid, like a small orchard. As they grew, branches were pruned and trained along this grid, so that eventually the branch of one tree met that of its neighbour. At that point, an incision was made in the bark of both branches and they were tied together, like blood brothers or sisters. The analogy is deserved, in that not only did these branches grow together to form one member, but their support activities (condition of water/minerals and sap) merged, thereby joining the life processes of the neighbouring trees.

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Diagram: McGill Architecture // Photo: Angus Kirk

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#Edible Forest Gardening 101: Plant a Mini-Orchard, with Columnar and Cordon Trees

My partner’s aunt is something of a horticultural guru in my life, and one maxim she seems to live by is: “a tree only gets as large as you allow it to.”

I am something of a plant hoarder myself, and because I believe preserving biodiversity in the food system is extremely important, I find myself more inclined to want 10 small but different tree cultivars (or a tree grafted with 40 cultivars) than a single large tree.

Training trees to grow in a compact form, such as a columnar or cordon tree, is a way to pack a huge amount of species diversity into a small space. These forms of tree maintenance are suitable for species and cultivars that fruit on what are called “spurs.”

Spurs are short, stocky shoots with shortened internodes, which is the space between two nodes; nodes are the part of a stem where leaves, and sometimes flowers, are attached. They form on shoots that are two years of age or older and can be branched or unbranched. Both flowers and fruit can form on spurs.

- What is a Fruit Spur?

It takes a little bit of practice, and quite a few visual references, but fruit spurs are easy to identify once you know what you are looking for.

External image

Viron, on The Home Orchard Society

This form of maintenance is best for certain cultivars of apples and pears, so research and observation is needed before choosing the right trees. Some cultivars can even be persuaded to fruit in pots when pruned properly, so a mini-orchard is even possible for an apartment gardener with a balcony.

In any case, when done right, it is a dense, attractive, and productive mode of cultivation. Species and cultivars can be chosen to cascade across a wide range of flowering and ripening times: an early-ripening ‘Clapp’s Favourite’ Pear, can be planted alongside a mid-season 'Brandy,’ and a late-season 'Bosc,’ so that pears are available over a period of months, instead of a period of weeks.

I use this high-diversity strategy with my blueberries and strawberries as well, so I have three months of harvest from the former, and five of the latter. It entails a bit of work in keeping plants artificially small, but the consistent, small harvests are much more practical than one-time, large harvests. I don’t worry about canning and preserving, so much as going out in the garden and finding something ripe for the picking.

Read more: Controlling Apple Tree Size by Horticultural Means

Related: Of Pears and Espaliers; Living Fences

Images: Pomona Fruits; htterina; The Meaning of the Columnar Apple Tree System (CATS) for the Market in Future by Helmut B. Jacob, The Geisenheim Research Institute, Department of Pomology

#pruning #fruit trees #forest gardening #edible landscaping 

Everyone carves jack-o’-lanterns using pumpkins, so maybe it’s time to try something different, like carving pineapples! In addition to creating an entirely new sort of spooky decoration, instead of slinging slimy pumpkin innards into a paper bag you can feast on sweet pineapple flesh instead.

And why stop at pineapple? There are all sorts of melons that would make great jack-o’-lanterns too:

Head over to Bored Panda to check out even more pineapple jack-o’-lanterns.

Photos via It’s My Side of Life, Pinterest UK, Make:, Amy Covington, and Chris Andre respectively.

[via Neatorama and Bored Panda]

A Belgian Fence with 13 different apple trees

shadesofmauve said:

My mom has a row of espaliered apples against her fence, and I think there are 13 different cultivars in it. Each tree is cut to just a ‘Y’ shape to make a criss-cross living fence. They just started bearing last year.

It is a lot of work, especially to get started and set the shape, but it sure does get a lot of variety in a very small space.

This is a prime example to show you don’t actually need a lot of space to grow fruit trees, if you learn how to prune and maintain them.

This design is usually called a Belgian Fence, and you can find many tutorials for it on the web, and books on the subject.

I saw a beautiful show garden from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show where the fences were completely decked in lemons and pomegranates that were trained to grow this way. It was called the Edible Persian Carpet Garden. After a few years, the result is truly edenic.

(via shadesofmauve)

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