For better for worse: Now you can say “I do” in a church made entirely from plants

A New Zealand tree specialist has grown a church from the grass roots up – literally

A tree enthusiast near Cambridge has built an entirely living Tree Church.

The three-acre Tree Church and gardens took Barry Cox four years to design and grow using a combination of plant species.  Cox, who as a child wanted to be the Pope when he grew up, chose to grow a church because of his love for religious architecture – and to publicise his tree business.

Currently the church and gardens are open to visitors and available to book for weddings and private events. The church itself seats 100 people, as well as containing a marble altar. Opposite to the entrance to the church is a labyrinth walk.

Cox built the garden around the church as a demonstration of what can be built using one of his “tree-spades” – a claw machine on the back of a truck, which can move and position trees up to two metres tall, without damaging either the tree or the ground around it. 

Cox owns and operates Treelocations, a company that focuses on the relocation or temporary housing of trees, working throughout the North Island.
For the roof canopy of his Tree Church he used cut leaf alder, while the walls are copper sheen, a fast-growing native Australian shrub.

The roof canopy was grown around a temporary iron frame until the trees grew into the shape, with the metal frame then removed. 

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