MOBOT Branches Out

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The showy blossoms of the cherry trees, found primarily in the Missouri Botanical Garden's Japanese Garden, captivate and grow amongst other flowering trees.
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The Missouri Botanical Garden plans to celebrate the United Nations' International Year of Forests in 2011 with a TREEmendous year of activities.
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A maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba), at the Missouri Botanical Garden, boasts golden fall color.
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Another nominee of the 2008 Chapion Trees as declared byt he Missouri Department of Conservation is the Possumhaw (Ilex decidua). This specimen is located at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
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This curious conifer, Dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) found at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is a living fossil, information discovered by Asian scientists in 1941.

Louis – The Missouri Botanical Garden invites visitors to
branch out from the ordinary notion of tree houses with an original exhibition
of nine TREEmendous Extreme Tree Houses. View the winning works of a juried
competition to construct imaginative, non-traditional, ground-level structures
beneath the canopy of the Garden’s oak, elm, gingko and other stately trees.
The Extreme Tree Houses are on outdoor display Saturday, April 30, through
Sunday, August 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The exhibit is included with
general admission and highlights the Garden’s TREEmendous year of activities in
recognition of the United Nations (U.N.) International Year of Forests. For
more information, visit the Missouri Botanical Garden on the

The Extreme Tree
Houses exhibition is designed to showcase the creativity and talent of the
local community while also reinforcing the significant role trees play in our
lives and in the health of our planet. Designers were encouraged to ponder the
concepts of sustainability, exploration and play in the outdoors,
nature-inspired design, imagination and more through their installations.

Seven tree
houses were selected as winners of the juried competition:

? Inside the
Tree House, located beneath a red oak tree (Quercus
) and designed by a team from Ann Florsek Architect, LLC; Villinger
Construction Co.; Teiber Construction Co., LLC; and Thies Farm and Greenhouses.
Sprouting from a giant seed pod (helicopter) of a maple tree, the hexagonal
shaped house incorporates re-purposed wood, green roof technology, solar power
and a recycled rain water system. Sustainable features including root tunnels,
leaf shutters and models of forest inhabitants are designed to educate,
entertain and enchant.

? The AMAZEing
Rings, located beneath a ginkgo tree (Ginkgo
) and designed by students from Washington University.
Designed to look like an expanded tree ring structure, the tree house has an
outer wood layer and inner core of radiating fabric rings that represent the
tree’s biological structures, including the outer bark, cambium cell layer and
heartwood. A two-way traffic path runs throughout the rings, lined with
educational panels explaining the functions of different parts of the tree.

? Sweet Gum Tree
House, located beneath a sweet gum tree (Liquidambar
) and designed by Roost Design Studio. Created to act as a
“Gateway to the Garden,” the tree house features a structural pathway allowing
Garden visitors to view the cedar trees, Jenkins
Daylily Garden
and Milles Sculpture Garden
pools from a new perspective.

? A Treed Place of
Play, located beneath a tulip tree (Liriodendron
) and designed by Manzo Architects. The structure recreates the
impromptu hideouts found and explored by children. Two canted L-shaped
structures surround the tree, producing an enclosed play space equipped with
eye-slits and hidey-holes at all heights. Relax after play by laying back to
enjoy the framed view of the dappled canopy and sky above.

? Reflections
Tree House, located beneath a sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) and designed by students from Ranken
Technical College, is largely inspired by the aerial and buttress roots cast by
many larger trees that exemplify the beauty in nature. The name “Reflections”
stems from the way the design of the canopy mimics that of a tree, giving it a
natural feel as if it were part of the tree itself, and providing a place to
rest and reflect.

? Nomad Nest,
located beneath a sycamore tree (Platanus
) and designed by students from the Kansas City Institute of
Art. The Nomad Nest aims to demonstrate ways to sustainably use urban flora
every day. The design’s woven, salvaged branches and saplings create a durable,
dome-like structure surrounding the tree. Outside planters contain wild edibles
and a kids’ crawl space; a table and seats inside are designed for an informal

? Treehenge,
nestled between a silver linden (Tilia
) and western soapberry (Sapindus drummondii) and designed by
Burns & McDonnell. Treehenge is where the TREEmendous Great St. Louis Tree
Hunt begins. The design is constructed with a bamboo base and frame, creating a
space surrounded by constructed trees featuring reused utility poles donated by
Ameren. Within the space are pictures, maps and GPS coordinates to aid in the
search for the 30 marked trees throughout the metro St. Louis region.

Two Extreme Tree
Houses were commissioned from Christner Inc.:

? A “Living”
Room in a Garden, located beneath an Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense). Fashioned as a typical “living room” with
the focus on a grand tree instead of a hearth, the room is defined by salvaged
Christmas trees which have been recycled into the construction material and
fabric. A wooded log enclosure surrounds three sides of the tree like a
fireplace with a stone hearth in front, and the tree’s canopy is the ceiling. A
“rug-like” accessible seating area is crafted from fir and pine needles and
small branches. Children can build and create with oversized logs in the play

? House+Tree=Phi,
located beneath a Chinese elm tree (Ulmus
). Pondering the notion that a tree can express one’s inner-most
personality and assist the creative imagination, the tree house is a formal
abstraction of how humans connect themselves with trees, nature and the
universe through one of the most classic expressions in western culture: Phi.
Through its form, illustrative panels and elements of found objects, the
structure uses the classical principles of Phi and the whimsical construction of
traditional tree houses. The tree house is co-created by Engraphix Inc.

The TREEmendous
Extreme Tree Houses exhibit debuts during the Garden’s TREEmendous Forest
Festival weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To celebrate National Arbor Day, come experience and enjoy the Missouri Botanical Garden’s historic, state
champion and other significant trees with a weekend full of expert-led tree
tours, tree care demonstration clinics and hands-on workshops. Families can
learn how to transform their own backyard or neighborhood trees into fun places
for creative outdoor play. The TREEmendous Forest Festival weekend is presented
by Macy’s.

Stop by the TREEmendous Interactive Discovery
Center to immerse
yourself in the world of trees. The Brookings
Interpretive Center
(adjacent to the Climatron®) has been transformed into a forest of fun,
discovery and learning, filled with hands-on, interactive experiences. Create
artwork out of tree parts, dress up as a tree, test your tree I.Q. and
experience what life is like in a forest canopy. Curl up with a book under the
canopy of the story tree, take in a forest film on our big screen and even
share your favorite tree stories and memories in the Tree Tales community
journal. Whether stopping by for a few minutes or a few hours, visitors are
invited to learn about the extraordinary trees among us, discover the many
roles trees and forests play in our lives and get inspired to take action! The Interactive Discovery Center
is open all year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning April 1.

The Great St.
Louis Tree Hunt branches the celebration of trees out into the community.
Explore the great outdoors by joining The Great St. Louis Tree Hunt to find at
least 15 of 30 marked TREEmendous Trees throughout the metro region (including Missouri and Illinois).
Download an area guide, clue map and photo journal from the Missouri Botanical Garden’swebsite.
Explore the St. Louis region with family and friends in search of each tree,
document your findings and bring the completed guide to the Garden’s TREEmendous Interactive Discovery
Center to receive a
special tree-themed reward. The Great St. Louis Tree Hunt runs through Friday,
April 30, and is presented by Gamma Tree Experts.

The 2011
TREEmendous year of activities is sponsored by Ameren Missouri and Novus International. The
Extreme Tree Houses exhibit is supported by the U.S. Green Building Council St.
Louis Regional Chapter.

Admission to the
Missouri Botanical
Garden is $8; St.
Louis City
and County residents enjoy discounted admission of $4 and free admission on
Wednesday and Saturday mornings until noon. Children ages 12 and under and
Garden members are free.

For more information,
visit the website of the Missouri Botanical Garden, call 314-577-5100 or toll-free

More than 37,000
households in the St. Louis region hold
memberships to the Missouri
Botanical Garden.
Memberships begin at $65 ($60 for seniors) and offer 12 months of free
admission for two adults and all children, plus exclusive invitations and
discounts. Members help support the Garden’s operations and world-changing work
in plant science and conservation. Learn more at the website.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis,
accessible from Interstate 44 at the Vandeventer exit and from Interstate 64 at
the Kingshighway North & South exit. Free parking is available on-site and
two blocks west at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer.

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s mission is “to
discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to
preserve and enrich life.” Today, 152 years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic
Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural