Turn Tree Branches into Wall Art

Turn Tree Branches into Wall Art

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

I’ve always been a tree hugger at heart. There’s just something so soothing and grounding about being surrounded by the towering trunks and rustling leaves of these gentle giants. So you can imagine my heartbreak when a beloved tree in my garden had to be removed.

It all started a few years back when a fierce storm blew through, toppling one of my prized oak trees. I was devastated – that tree had been a fixture in my garden for over three decades, providing much-needed shade and a cozy perch for all the birds and squirrels. But alas, Mother Nature had other plans, and down it came, leaving a gaping hole in my landscape.

As I later learned, I’m certainly not alone in this experience. Many gardeners have faced the painful reality of losing a treasured tree, whether due to storms, disease, or simply old age. But rather than let that grief weigh them down, they’ve found ingenious ways to turn those lemons into lemonade.

Breathe Life into the Lifeless

One of my favorite examples comes from my friend Freeland Tanner. When a beloved birch tree in his garden met its demise, he didn’t simply haul it away. Instead, he transformed the sculptural trunk into a stunning support for one of his custom birdhouses. What a wonderful way to give new life to a fallen friend!

And it doesn’t always have to be an entire tree trunk. Even simple branches can be repurposed into charming garden accents, as I discovered during a visit to The Oregon Garden. There, I stumbled upon a whimsical trellis made from nothing more than a few weathered branches.

From Grapevine to Garden Art

When my own beloved oak tree met its demise, I just couldn’t bear to see it carted away. Instead, I decided to put those thick, gnarled trunk slices to good use. I positioned them throughout my garden beds as pedestals for my favorite potted plants, creating an instant focal point and a subtle nod to the tree’s former glory.

And speaking of gnarled trunks, what about that poor Rogers Red grapevine that up and died on me one summer? I couldn’t bring myself to remove its twisted, sculptural form, so I repurposed it as a support for an Amethyst Falls wisteria. Not only did it provide the perfect framework for the wisteria to climb, but it also added a touch of rustic charm to that corner of my garden.

Branching Out with Creativity

The creativity doesn’t stop there, my friends. P. Allen Smith, the master of garden design himself, has transformed dead tree trunks and branches into all sorts of stunning art and structures. From a whimsical black rooster sculpture perched atop a weathered trunk to a charming arbor adorned with twisted branches, his creations never cease to amaze.

And let’s not forget about the ingenious bottle trees and shoe trees that have popped up in gardens across the country. These vibrant displays not only provide a unique form of garden art, but they’re also said to have spiritual significance, trapping “evil spirits” within the colorful bottles and discarded shoes.

Branches Become Blooms

If bottle trees aren’t your thing, how about a good ol’ fashioned coat of paint? A neighbor of mine took a similarly creative approach when faced with the loss of their cherished Japanese maple. Rather than letting the bare branches wither away, they transformed the tree into a year-round work of art with a simple can of spray paint.

And speaking of eye-catching displays, have you seen Claude Cormier’s “Blue Tree” at Sonoma’s Cornerstone Gardens? This stunning installation features a dead tree adorned with nearly 17,000 plastic balls, creating a mesmerizing blue-hued canopy that’s sure to captivate any passerby.

Branching Out Indoors

Of course, the creative possibilities don’t have to be limited to the great outdoors. As I discovered recently, even those moss-covered branches that once graced the trees in my garden can find new life as stunning indoor wall art.

All it takes is a bit of gentle cleaning to preserve the natural beauty of those verdant hues, and voila – you’ve got yourself a one-of-a-kind botanical display that will breathe new life into any room. Just imagine the cozy, rustic charm it would bring to a timber-framed home!

Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future

At the end of the day, the loss of a beloved tree can be a heartbreaking experience. But as I’ve learned from the creative gardeners and artists around me, there’s always a way to turn that tragedy into something beautiful. Whether it’s a whimsical birdhouse, a sturdy trellis, or a stunning piece of wall art, the key is to embrace the natural beauty of those fallen branches and let your imagination run wild.

So the next time Mother Nature throws you a curveball and takes down one of your beloved trees, don’t despair. Instead, channel your inner artist and start dreaming up ways to turn those lemons into lemonade. Who knows – you might just end up with a new masterpiece for your garden or home!


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