Ultratravel U.S.

Summer 2014

Issue link: https://www.ultratravelusdigital.com/i/334280

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NATURAL SETTING What exactly is a tree museum? Linda Lee meets with landscape designer Enzo Enea, who designed one in Switzerland, to find out. 58 ultratravel "I started collecting trees 20 years ago," the landscape designer Enzo Enea says. They were trees that would have been cut down to make room for homes, gardens, wider streets— "old, burly specimens," he says. His intention was to move the trees—some by helicopter—to his 24 acres overlooking Lake Zurich, and use them in his garden-design business. "But I loved some of them so much, I had a hard time selling them," he says. Thus his Tree Museum, which opened in 2010 in Rapperswil-Jona, 25 miles southeast of Zurich. Out of the 2,000 specimens on hand, he selected 50 trees, some as common as a crab apple and others as prized as the 115-year-old horse chestnut that served as a place to post signs in a nearby town square. "There are still marks on the bark, which tell many stories," says Enea. "Under the tree is a bench from an English cottage garden, reminiscent of the town square where the tree was doomed because of street construction." Enea's trees come from around the world, but all grow in the same temperate climate. Elsewhere there is a 130-year-old Japanese red maple, and a 100-year-old European yew, clipped into a cloud-like shape and set against one of the large, abstract limestone blocks that form the "rooms" of the museum. The Miami architect Chad Oppenheim won the job of designing those proto-Neolithic shapes in an international competition. "Everyone else wanted to show off their architecture," Oppenheim says. "I like playing God, so our design celebrated the garden, the sky, the beauty of the surroundings." Strolling through the Tree Museum, a visitor finds an evocative scene at every step. "Old trees have so much character," Enea says. "I just love them." PHOTO BY MARTIN RUTSCHI Enzo Enea couldn't part with some of the trees he began collecting 20 years ago, so he built a museum for 50 of them, some of which are seen here.

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