More than 40 kinds of fruits grow on one tree.
A garden can be not only useful but a real work of art as well. It was this formula that motivated Professor Sam Van Aken to design an exceptional park complex. The gardener made an attempt to create hybrid trees that will bear fruit the entire year, and the fairy smack of flowers will never cease to fascinate visitors. The outcome was “Frankenstein trees”, uniting several dozen cultures at once.
Van Aken portrays himself more as an artist than a gardener. Although he grew up on his family’s farm located in Pennsylvania, USA, his fervor for beauty as well as admiration for nature dominated his exertion to breed hybrids. Nonetheless, the outcome of the premier trial was participation in a thematic exhibition in 2008 with his plant hybrids. Only then did the scientist think about grafting fruit trees and creating a 40-in-1 plant.
Van Aken’s trees did not impress the unassuming visitor. Yes, his trees looked a little weird and amusing because a variety of plant parts were grafted into their base but nothing more. Passers-by just shrugged their shoulders and mumbled something about a “scientific experiment.” The fairy tale became reality came true only in the spring.
It was during this brightest time of the year that hundreds of flowers of all shades bloomed on the trees. An incredible mixture of colors showed others what can occur when nature motivates creativity. Then, within a few months, Van Aken’s trees delivered abundant fruitage of plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, almonds, and a number of other stone fruits. For the first time in history, it was probable to accomplish the unthinkable: to unite several crops in one tree at once.
Van Aken rightly believed that it was stone fruits that showed the greatest diversity in both flowering and fruiting. Furthermore, they have better compatibility. And care for different cultures is almost similar. The most difficult part was grafting the cherry. But there were no obstacles with almonds, apricots, or plums.
Even under these near-ideal states, it takes at least five years to grow and plant a single tree. Van Aken does his own spring pruning, shaping many crowns according to his concept of beauty. The professor believes that 40 is the optimal number of grafted varieties per tree. This makes it probable to obtain from it a variety of cultures.
Van Aken plans to create an open-air museum with branches in various cities. He has the desire to create, surprise, motivate as well as preserve the most valuable and ancient species of stone fruits. In the future, Van Aken’s gardens will be integrated into the urban environment and, as the professor expects, will assist people to rethink their relationship with nature and their role in it.