Poland’s “Crooked Forest”

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Poland’s Crooked Forest. (reddit.com)

The curved trunks of this grove of trees known as the Crooked Forest, in Poland, planted in 1930 when the land was in Pomerania, then part of Germany, raises interesting challenges for landscape architects. On the website iflscience.com, Justine Alford wondered “What Could Have Caused Poland’s Crooked Forest,” ruminating on why we know so little of how this happened. Few things in nature are as enticing as trees that seem to have grown in defiance of the rules of botany – most trees and their branches reach for the sun to offer their leaves the nourishment of photosynthesis.

Wikipedia describes the reigning ignorance regarding how the 400 or so pines of the Crooked Forest got that way:

The Crooked Forest (Polish: Krzywy Las), is a grove of oddly-shaped pine trees located outside Nowe Czarnowo, West Pomerania, Poland.

This grove of approximately 400 pines was planted around 1930, when its location was still within the German province of Pomerania. It is generally believed that some form of human tool or technique was used to make the trees grow this way, but the method and motive are not currently known.[1] It has been speculated that the trees may have been deformed to create naturally curved timber for use in furniture or boat building [2] Others surmise that a snowstorm could have knocked the trees like this, but to date nobody knows what really happened to these pine trees.

Imagine a marvelous garden whose creator understood how to foster a similar curvature of this magnitude in the garden’s little forest. Landscape architects, I am sure, already know of methods to form unnatural shapes in the trunks of trees. Grow them close to the side of a building, for example, as in this grove of street trees – grape vines, actually, apparently in Jerez, Spain.

Hats off to my wife, Victoria, who, amid her nightly perusal of interesting submittals to Facebook, shot this one to me.

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Grape vines in Jerez, Spain. (reddit.com)

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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