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The Folly Tree Hill

The Folly Tree Hill is a play ground landscape installation that utilizes an inedible, bowling ball sized fruit to create an annual public ritual of indeterminate play. 

The Folly Tree Hill is a large scale public landscape installation designed as a play space for children and adults. The Folly Tree Hill has two main components. The first component 100ft wide by 40ft high mound. The mound is steeply sloped and covered in a high traffic tolerant, short fescue grass. The second component of the Folly Tree Hill is a grove of seven Osage Orange “Cannon Ball” trees planted at the top of the mound. Osage Orange trees are drought tolerant and extremely hardy making them an ideal choice for a public application of this kind. The most important trait of the Osage Orange “Cannon Ball” tree is that in the fall they produce a large knobby neon green fruit known commonly as a hedge apple or a monkey brain. The “Cannon Ball” cultivar is particularly special because is produces fruit two thirds larger then normal. Osage oranges are inedible and serve no apparent evolutionary function. It is thought by scientists to have relied on mega fauna such as the giant land sloth to consume and distribute the seeds inside of the fruit in order for to reproduce. Once the giant land sloth went extinct the trees survived through human cultivation. Its principle economic value being as a wind break during the Dust Bowl. When the osage oranges fall from the trees in early fall they would roll down the mound and distribute themselves randomly as non prescriptive objects of play. The annual rolling of the osage oranges would create a nonsensical ritual in celebration of the absurdity of humans relationship to the natural world and cultivate a sense of larger biological and ecological context.