While we haven’t reached an extreme like that portrayed in the new movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Lorax,’ there is a general lack of knowledge and appreciation for the diversity of plants (well, everything really).
For almost 20 years, Enzo Enea, a Swiss Landscape Architect, has been taking in trees like abandoned puppies, often saving them from construction and urban expansion. It’s been almost two years since Enea’s Tree Museum opened in Rapperswil-Jona, outside of Zurich. Architect Chad Oppenheim, who also designed the neighboring Enea Gardens Headquarters, partnered with Enea to create an oval-shaped, open air museum that showcase the beauty and uniqueness of 50 tree species.
“[The museum is] divided into a series of ‘rooms,’ each with their own atmosphere and character that exhibits individual trees. The purpose of the museum is to emphasize the exceptional presence, beauty, and rarity of the exhibited trees and shape visitors’ perception of how time and space are embedded in the very essence of these ancient and venerable trees.”
The series of local sandstone walls serve the natural surroundings as opposed to being glorified sculptures; they frame the trees and create zen like spaces. Adjacent to the museum is a 2.5 acre park that also showcases around 2,000 more species.
Sometimes we see art that imitates nature or describe pieces as ‘coming alive’, but nature is art, trees are sculptures, and it is alive. Currently we’re fighting for fine arts programs in public schools. Equally important is the fight for the education and appreciation of nature.