In all the time I’ve spent cruising around my quiet Seattle neighborhood for fallen sidewalk fruit (the semi-bruised apples are delicious), I’ve never thought to myself: “Geez. I wish all these trees had, like, 40 different kinds of fruit on them.” Until now.
Artist and Syracuse University professor Sam Van Aken has made more than a dozen trees that bear all kinds of fruits and flowers, not just a single variety like the once-lauded peach and plum trees of yore — those pathetic, one-trick ponies. Van Aken creates these frankentrees using a horticultural technique called chip budding, which basically involves taking a small budding branch from one tree, sticking it into a slit carved out in another tree, wrapping the unholy mash-up in plastic, and waiting until they heal together into one cohesive branch.
“When I’d seen it done as a child, it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic,” Van Aken says in the above video from National Geographic.
If only smashing things together and tying them up worked so well all the time — a shattered mug wrapped in paper towels, two incompatible Lego pieces wrapped in Play-Doh, my ex-boyfriend and me wrapped in nostalgia …