Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crooked Forests



A forest of about 400 pine trees in Western Poland all grow with a 90 degree northward  bend at the base of their trunks.  The patch, within a a larger forest of straight growing pine trees, was planted in approximately 1930, and it is assumed that their peculiar growth habit is due to some mechanical intervention, though the reason behind it is unknown.  A commenter on the original post (at discoverynews) said he was taught to do this by his grandfather, with the intent of making saplings grow ready-shaped for canes.  So perhaps this was a cane forest interrupted by World War II.







The twisted trees of Saskatchewan Canada are more mysterious. The grove of deformed aspens is on private land, and though the Friends of the Crooked Bush speculate that the trees could be due to meteorites or even UFO's, a more likely explanation seems a rare genetic mutation such as that causing contortion in the Henry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana 'Contorta').  When vegetatively propagated and grown at locations in Manitoba, the Saskatchewan aspens retain their crookedness.



But my favorite crooked tree story is this one from my home state of Oklahoma, and the Land Run town of Shawnee (which oddly enough also happens to be the birthplace of Brad Pitt):

"In a whimsical moment" Shawnee residents Frank Witherspoon and Gule Rinneger went down to the banks of the North Canadian river, dug up two elm saplings, and brought them back to town in a one-horse hack.   Witherspoon decided that he would form an arch of the two trees by tying them together in front of his newly built house.  Witnesses said that the plants were more than six feet tall, and that he tied them together as high as he could reach, using ropes and burlap to bind them.  In spite of the mischief of neighborhood children, who used to cut the bindings, he was successful in his efforts to grow the trees into a knot.[source]

They grew more closely attached through the years, bending together with age. In 1930, their picture appeared in the syndicated "Believe It or Not" column of Robert Ripley, and again in the book "Nature Woodland Wonders" in 1945.  The Oklahoma state highway commission included them in its booklet, "New Thrills Ahead." at about the same time; they were by that time just a few feet away from State Highway 270 and a regular stop for travelers.  I can't find any information on when they went at last; but I'm sure they went together. 

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house. 

11 comments:

egor said...

There is a similar place in Russia
http://russos.livejournal.com/552465.html

Silas said...

Congratulations Arcady, a very interesting post. Glad your up and running again.

Silas
The Reflective Gardener

Bria said...

I love to imagine a giant Harry Lauder's Walking stick. These were so fun to see--I'm really enjoying your blog! Thanks

Plinius said...

Intriguing. I'm also pleased to see you are back posting. I was reading 'The Arcadian Friends' whilst at Holkham Hall today, so am thinking a lot about landscape garden design at the moment.

millefeuilles said...

I have been following your blog for a few months now drawn by your blog name. I too am a garden history girl although my blog has a different slant to yours and a diffent name, of course.

I simply wished to say I am pleased to see you posting again. I will read I am also hosting a giveaway which might be of interest to you. I would be delighted if you popped over to my blog and, perhaps, entered the giveaway.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

megimoher said...

hello. I just found your blog and... ok. I'm a landscape planner and gardener from Poland, interested in garden history, so maybe you would find something interesting for you in my blog! (tag "parki i ogrody"). I have seen trees like these, strange and mysterious, in Sweden- in most cases their weird growing comes after burning or being buried by snow in the early years of life. Greetings, Megi.

Den passionerade trädgårdsturisten said...

Hi, very interesting post. I will have to see these fantastic crockeded bush sometimes, since I live in Stockholm Sweden its not too far to Poland. I´ll go there someday. Thanks for sharing. You write about very interesting things. Kind regards. Ann
Sweden, gardenhistorian and author of Gardens of Italy.

Revista Energía & Jardines said...

Why did you stop posting?
It's a great site. Thanks and congratulations from Chile

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

such a great post... i can always count on something very unique when i visit your blog!

Vintages said...

I love interesting gardens. We recently toured the Allerton Gardens on Kauai. It was our second visit. These are not just gardens, but true "outdoor rooms". Worth going to if you are on the island. Bob

scottweberpdx said...

Ha! I just saw that first pic of the bent trees the other day and was wondering what the story was behind them..great post!

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