For many people, I think the words “tree museum” are weighted with forlorn-ness from the Joni Mitchell hit, “Big Yellow Taxi.”
Well, as it turns out, there is an actual tree museum in existence. Created by Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea, it opened last month in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland, near Zurich. Appropriately, the entire museum is outdoors, on two and a half acres of carefully landscaped earth, and showcases more than 2,000 of 22 varieties that Mr. Enea has collected from 17 years of work. (One has to wonder how his clients feel about this — perhaps they get free lifetime admission to the museum?).
The museum is set on the grounds of a 14th Century monastery, and the trees are each framed by large sandstone walls (pictured above).
The site is obviously quite beautiful, and a lot of effort has been put in to showcasing these gorgeous living sculptures. The only thing I’m kind of on the fence about is the walls. They do provide a nice contrast so that the tree shapes are clearly and brightly articulated — but one of the great pleasures of three dimensional objects is being able to walk around them and see them from many angles. Surely there isn’t a wall right up next to each and every tree, preventing viewers from circling them, but it does disrupt the ability to experience from all sides. I can live with it, though!
The museum is open Monday to Saturday, admission is a brisk $15.