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12 June 2016

An Unusual European Museum

Those looking for an unusual European museum, get ready ... It’s called the Tree Museum; and this unusual spot in Switzerland displays trees that were collected by one of the world’s most prominent tree collectors: Enzo Enea. I bet you didn’t know you could collect trees. They are, after all, so unwieldy. Ah, but leave it to the brain of a genius landscape architect like Enea. He not only collects them for his work, but, by calling this outdoors space a “museum” (rather than a garden), he has elevated them to a rare appreciation.

As he told The New York Times, “I have collected trees over the last 17 years from gardens that I was building or houses that I was building,” Mr. Enea said. “Trees had to be moved, and instead of cutting them, I tried to remove them.” His trees range in age from 50 to 130 years, and in height from 15 to 40 feet, reported the paper.

Trees Are Art in this Museum

Within the museum are approximately 50 trees and about 22 species. You will savor each one. So many of us go through life walking by trees without a second glance. Here, the tree is the focal point of each “room,” with 16-foot high local sandstone walls serving as the landscape architect’s canvas.

Only those that can grow in this particular Swiss climate, near the upper end of Lake Zürich, in the town of Rapperswil-Jona are here.

More to do at this unusual European museum

Another 100 or so have also been planted in the park that surrounds the museum.

Enea Garden Design’s HQ is also here. In the building is an exhibition of selected garden furniture, a library, and a museum shop.

What is Rapperswil-Jona?

It’s not exactly feasible to fly across the pond in peak summer season to visit a Tree Museum. Luckily, I’ve got more! Like the fact that the Medieval town of Rapperswil is the land of roses. Not only is it in its coat of arms, but more than 15,000 roses of 600 varieties bloom from June to October on the grounds of the Capuchin monastery, including a fragrant rose garden for the visually impaired. Each plant is labeled in Braille. 

Do you need more convincing?