circus trees
August 27, 2003 8:03 AM   Subscribe

The Circus Trees of Axel Erlandson: In the 1920s Erlandson observed the natural grafting of two sycamores, became inspired, and then fused 4 sycamore saplings into his first successful experiment - a cupola that he named "Four Legged Giant". Using his own techniques, Erlandson went on to fashion zigzags, birdcages, chairs, towers, hearts, loops, baskets, rings, lightning bolts, towers, picture frames, ladders, and spiral staircases by painstakingly threading saplings together. His trees appeared often in Ripley's Believe it or Not during the 40s and 50s. Click, click, click.
posted by iconomy (21 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Those are some damn cool trees.
posted by me3dia at 8:10 AM on August 27, 2003

"New theme park blossoms in Gilroy..." (
posted by shoepal at 8:11 AM on August 27, 2003

I feel better about everything after having seen pictures of these trees. Wonders, beautiful wonders. Anyone been to the park in person?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:17 AM on August 27, 2003

can you climb the ladder one?
posted by jann at 8:19 AM on August 27, 2003

Okay, now I'm definitely going to Gilroy. Between this and the Garlic Festival, it's like Vegas for agri-nerds!

(And, yes, I am a proud agri-nerd.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:26 AM on August 27, 2003

I have just two things to say:

1) TreeFilter

2) PETT (People for the Ethical Treatment of Trees)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:31 AM on August 27, 2003

Great. Thanks, iconomy.
posted by plep at 8:40 AM on August 27, 2003

jann: yes, the caption says it can be climbed.

I've always wanted to see these trees in person. When I was reading iconomy's third link, I actually breathed a sigh of relief to see that all 29 trees survived the transplant and are thriving. Trees are just too cool.
posted by widdershins at 8:46 AM on August 27, 2003

I have a question where is a link to a spiral staircase photo. That one in particular seems almost impossible to make i would like to see a pic.
posted by sourbrew at 8:47 AM on August 27, 2003

Yay, iconomy's back on MeFi! Of course, your links have a way of showing up here anyway, heh.
posted by Shane at 8:55 AM on August 27, 2003

Druid porn
posted by euphorb at 9:00 AM on August 27, 2003

You've done it again, iconomy. Though I often wonder how you decide which things to post here, given that so many of the things on your site seem perfect for MetaFilter.

From your title bar, I take it others have had the same impression, and, er, followed up on it? But without credit? Shame!
posted by soyjoy at 9:04 AM on August 27, 2003

That reminds me of this tree art which may have been posted to Metafilter in the past but thought I'd put it out here again as a relevant link.
posted by topherbecker at 9:26 AM on August 27, 2003

Oh, these are so very cool! Thanks!
posted by dejah420 at 9:33 AM on August 27, 2003

I think Jann was asking if we are ALLOWED to climb it. I hope so, I wanna.
posted by agregoli at 9:37 AM on August 27, 2003


You know what, iconomy? You should be posting every day.
posted by y2karl at 9:45 AM on August 27, 2003

I just got a nice email from Andrew, who has some great photographs that he took at Bonfante Gardens - the spiral staircase (part of it) is in one, sourbrew.
posted by iconomy at 10:04 AM on August 27, 2003

yeah, that was basically the gist, but I guess it's not one of the surviving ones. oh well, I want to climb!
posted by jann at 11:09 AM on August 27, 2003

I've seen these before, but they still give me wood. I've seen a few of these Cherokee Indian trees in NC and GA.

Circus trees would be a good hobby for prisoners. They have nowhere to go and they could watch their trees turn into art.
posted by Frank Grimes at 11:18 AM on August 27, 2003

Great post!

And let me join the "more iconomy posts" movement.

Just think, iconomy, in this thread alone, you probably have more votes than most of the California gubernatorial candidates will get!
posted by madamjujujive at 10:01 PM on August 27, 2003

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Damn it! You killed another one!

Very cool post, iconomy and let's see some more.

posted by dg at 10:28 PM on August 27, 2003

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