I’m so inspired by the work of Canadian conceptual landscape architect Claude Cormier. He started out as a botanist with an ambition to create a new kind of flower through cross-breeding. Rather than making flowers though, he has ended up creating art on a grand scale with his arresting landscape designs. “Instead of borrowing and copying from nature,” he says, “I prefer to cross-breed it with culture”.
Blue Tree, a past installation at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, is a perfect example of what Cormier and his firm does. This once quietly majestic tree was afflicted with a terrible tree-killing disease and on its way to being chopped down. In its final act, along came the landscape architect to give it the grandest send-off a tree has ever had by adorning it with 75,000 plastic Christmas ornaments!
This was executed by two men in a cherry-picker and one man on a step-ladder over 9 days.
Magnificent, she was! What could be better than a big open sky and the rolling hills of Sonoma as a backdrop for this work of art?
Over time, the tree succumbed to its disease. Au Revoir, Blue Tree!
The Blue Tree existed between 2004 and 2007 at the Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, right where that Valley meets the Napa Valley, and not too far from San Francisco. Even though this installation is no longer there, I highly recommend a visit to Cornerstone if you like this kind of conceptual design.