Character designed and illustrated for cover of children’s study book

copyright Letts Education Publishers

To view further examples of my design work please visit the Gallery

Wand curves planting and the HoBB inosculation (Tree Circus)

Wand curves planting and silver basket picturesCreating a en-kissing of trees happens when two branches or trunks rub against each other, grow and fuse.  It’s termed inosculation (From the Latin ‘osculare’, to kiss). Like species will en-kiss well. As nearly all hedgerows around the HoBB Gardens are ‘pleatched’ i.e. cut and laid to form a barrier to  cattle and sheep, many branches and tree trunks rub together and become fused/en-kissed.

This group of hazel trees (see picture) was saved from the pleatcher’s cut and by holding the stems together they have formed a woven ‘basket’ making a fine silvery feature in winter.


Some plants react favourably to this sort of manipulation and if you are keen to track down some extremes, look up references to the work of Axel Erlandson and his curiously ornamental ‘circus trees’ in America which were sold to Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy, where today “they continue to amaze and thrive.”

‘Man-made’ circus trees, landscapes and gardens are most beautiful when they arise from a deep understanding of Nature. At the HoBB Gardens our land and water stewardship method is to persuade and stimulate Nature rather than overpower and exploit her. The HoBBian circus trees have happened in a more unplanned way as previous farmer-gardeners have put plants to practical use like hedging and boundary marking. Gradually, we are supplementing these past plantings as we enjoy our role as one link in a continuous chain of evolving growth.

“It is Grant’s spirit of approach to design that creates greater beauty where Nature itself grows.”

Individual and group visits to the HoBB are by prior arrangement. Please contact me with your prefered date/s

If you would like to do some inosculation with some of your own trees, I’m up for giving you a hand. Perhaps you would like to create a new Tree circus? Let me know.

My belief is that with feeling and ingenuity, beautiful gardens can be created anywhere. With imagination, spaces between walls can be made as enchanting as walls within spaces.

Grant - Head Plant Steward, HoBB Gardens