New Zealand Man Spends Four Years Growing a Church From Trees

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A man from New Zealand dedicated four years of his life to carefully training tree branches so he could construct a magical church made completely from living trees.

Under his trademark Tree Spade, Barry Cox, who once aspired to be the Pope, was able to relocate a variety of mature trees to create a unique and structurally complex church on his 1.2 hectare property near Cambridge, on the North Island of New Zealand.

Cox said he spent several years of his youth on the back of a motorcycle, exploring Europe and America, and developed a deep appreciation for church architecture, according to

Drawing on that passion, he decided that he would try his hand at creating a structure with “distinctly different” plants that would highlight the massive proportions of his unorthodox church, a style common in masonry churches.

The tree expert then carefully selected from a wide variety of different trees for the church. Some have stone-colored trunks, while, others, with sparse foliage, ensure that the church will always be illuminated by sunlight. Cox owns a gardening company, Treelocations, which replants whole, live trees using enormous mechanized spades, which enabled him to make his dream a reality, planting live trees anyway he wanted, completing this church as well as the iron frame that supports it in just four years.

The tree church, made from Cut Leaf Alder, Cooper Sheen, Camelia Black Tie, Acer Globsoum and Thuja Pyramidalis, is set across three acres of beautiful gardens and also includes a labyrinth walk.

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