Basket Tree.

Circus Trees at Gilroy Gardens

Field review by the editors.

Gilroy, California

Axel Erlandson's "circus trees" stood in Scots Valley near Santa Cruz for many years after his death in 1964. He spent over 40 years growing his experimental tree shapes. His tortured and unique "arborsculptures" -- with trunks coaxed into hearts and DNA double helixes -- eventually began to die from lack of care.

In 1985, the 29 surviving Circus Trees were acquired and carefully transplanted at a planned theme park 50 miles away in Gilroy. Bonfante Gardens opened in 2001 (and has since changed its name to Gilroy Gardens). One of the trees saved and thriving there is the Basket Tree, six Sycamores melded together in 42 different connections.

Gilroy Gardens also installed a huge, fake Circus tree as a kids' water playland feature.

Circus Trees at Gilroy Gardens

3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA
From San Jose/Bay Area: US 101 south to Masten Ave. exit. Take Masten Ave. westbound (turns into Fitzgerald Ave. after you go past Monterey St). At the end of Fitzgerald Ave. turn left on Santa Teresa Blvd. Then turn right on Hwy. 152 (Hecker Pass Hwy.) Entrance is left just past Burchell Rd.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Garlic Capital of the World MuralGarlic Capital of the World Mural, Gilroy, CA - 3 mi.
Garlicgeese SculptureGarlicgeese Sculpture, Gilroy, CA - 4 mi.
Garlic World, World's Longest Braided GarlicGarlic World, World's Longest Braided Garlic, Gilroy, CA - 5 mi.
In the region:
Mammoth of Steel, San Jose, CA - 31 mi.

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