Tree Theme Park
This amusement park has more trees than roller coasters. A surreal collection of 25 trees originally started in 1947 by Axel Erlandson is now the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme park in Gilroy, California. The Park features over forty rides, attractions, educational exhibits and majestic gardens. The park is designed to educate guests and to foster a greater appreciation of horticulture.
Axel Erlandson began to shape trees, by planting in specified patterns; then pruning, grafting and bending them. He noticed that trees of the same species would naturally "inosculate", or grow together where they touch. This naturally occurring ability of a tree to graft led to Axel’s lifetime passion for shaping trees. He would create designs on paper first and then plant trees in the specified patterns he wanted. By pruning, grafting and bending the seedlings he created his masterpieces.
Trees may look like single living entities above ground, but they may share more than just space underground: Their roots may grow together, forming a graft.
We usually use the term "graft" to mean that humans have intervened to insert a shoot or bud of one plant onto another -- that's how three-way apple trees are made -- but plants can graft themselves.
Elm trees are known to graft their roots, which can lead to the unfortunate occurrence of Dutch elm disease (a fungus) being passed along.
Some tree species form colonies from a single root system. A single root system of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) can grow into a grove of its own. Individual trees may die, but sprouts come up from the roots. In south-central Utah, one clonal colony of quaking aspens, nicknamed Pando, is thought to be 80,000 years old.