Since the time humans have put their feet on earth, they have modified nature. These modifications have constantly damaged the environment; from deforestation to destruction of habitats, endangerment to extinction of flora and fauna, from pollution to desertification and from overuse of natural resources to their depletion. But there are some brilliant minds, who decided to innovate, work together, experiment and implement their ideas in a way that suits their desires and at the same time the health of the planet doesn’t have to suffer. Humans have always benefited from nature, but a very few people know that nature can be trained. You might think it to be just a natural pattern but it’s more than that, it is an art. I am sure that you have seen a picture of a tree with its roots or trunk forming different patterns (see picture below) and if you have assumed that the image was photoshopped then you are wrong, this technique of training living trees and other woody plants into artistic or useful structures is called Pooktre. Pooktre is an ability to convert one’s nature related fantasies into reality. It is the gradual process of shaping trees, allowing them to grow into predetermined designs. Peter Cook and Becky Northey are the founders of Pooktre. They have contributed to the health of the planet by teaching others that it’s very easy to live in the natural environment without disturbing the balance and growth. They have studied trees for about 41 years and their understanding and appreciation of trees is evident in their work. Now that you know what Pooktre is, scroll down to see the “oh so amazing” tree designs which are a result of great minds. Pooktre coffee table The first pooktre design by Peter and Becky to come to life back in 1996 was a coffee table. Four branches support a piece of tree trunk and four other branches, purposefully worked and cajoled into place, firmly hold a circular glass table top in place. It looks entirely unique, and it would be impossible to duplicate it perfectly because it’s been grown, not built. It’s a naturally grown table to perfectly match your garden area. Pooktre mirror stand While the coffee table may be impressive, the mirror stand by Becky is nothing short of amazing. Spindly little roots support a massive mirror frame which appears to curl back on itself; a result of some wild imagination! Look at yourself in this natural frame, it surely adds to your beauty. Pooktre Living chair John Krubsack was an American banker and farmer from Embarrass,Wisconsin. He shaped and grafted the first known grown chair, harvesting it in 1914, since then the designs of the growing chair have been changing and evolving. The most amazing and popular design of the living chair by Peter and Becky is shown below. It is a completely organic, living piece, meaning no excess, no waste and more oxygen! The unique design also creates a lasting relationship between the user and the object. Each chair has been pre-designed and cared for with the utmost attention– grown, tended to, twisted and formed over the course of 7-8 years but it’s an ideal resting place for a gardener. Pooktre human trees These human shaped designs are the tree-men with leafy branches shooting from their hands and heads. Again, this innovative idea has come up from the brilliant minds; Peter and Becky. Growing these tree people in your garden is an interesting form of nature-art. Let nature welcome your guests to your garden.
These designs are unquestionably a unique expression and recall a natural beauty that can often be overshadowed by the glossy modern design. When we decide to know and see the tree art then no look at it would be complete without profiling the practice of Pooktre.
When you can modify nature in a way that you fall in love with the comfort it provides, your desires are fulfilled… and in return nature doesn’t have to pay for this, then we can surely say that practicing Pooktre is the best way to live in harmony with nature. Have a garden with uniquely shaped trees that delights yourself and visitors. Grow a legacy for the children of tomorrow. If you are a natural architecture head then what are you waiting for? It’s time to grow closer to your land and unlock the complete potential of the tree while developing a new skill.
This article was originally submitted to Landscape Architects NetworkPublished in