The San Diego Botanic Garden has given new life to drought-stricken catalpa trees in East County by transforming them into 12-foot plant chandeliers, which were delivered to the garden on June 29.
These chandeliers are the first-ever created in the world by Weldon Exhibits, an internationally-recognized museum exhibits designer and fabricator from the Bay Area.
The branches of deceased Catalpa trees, harvested nearly two years ago along Dehesa Road in Campo, now serve as basis for the beautiful ‘plant chandeliers’ used in the Dickinson Family Education Pavilion now under construction at the Garden.
Julian Duval, president & CEO of San Diego Botanic Garden, came up with the concept of “plant chandeliers” adorning the ceiling of the Pavilion, that has now become a reality thanks to the artistry of the company that created the basis for what will become a unique new feature at the Botanic Garden.
“Catalpa wood is very decay-resistant and the trees have a very graceful branching structure making them perfect for planting them with the wonderful diversity of plants from the tropical forest canopy,” said Duval. “It’s not a common tree in California, and we had already identified trees to harvest in Indiana for this project. So, the discovery of a dozen mature trees that had died along Dehesa Road in El Cajon was an amazing alternative.”
These exotic hanging gardens have been engineered to be displayed from the ceiling of the greenhouse-like structure and can be raised or lowered depending upon the use of the interior space of the Pavilion for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
A wonderful assortment of epiphytic plants, including orchids, bromeliads, philodendrons and a myriad of others, will be planted into the chandeliers created from the catalpa branches. These living chandeliers will become a canopy of plant life similar to what would be found on the branches of trees living in a tropical forest.
For more information, visit www.sdbgarden.org.