The Flower Towers
The Upside-Down Flower Tower was recognized in Reader’s Digest as America’s Most Interesting Landmark according to a reader poll in the November 2012 issue.
During the land rehabilitation process, Mr. Bowhay was developing the lower landscaped gardens using a large piece of rented equipment to arrange the masses of soil, roots, plants, trees, and rocks dragged down the mountain from the 1984 landslide. It was in the last few hours of equipment rental that the brand new excavator became damaged while Steve was negotiating a large boulder into place. This boulder is now known as “Steve’s Rock” and is the centerpiece of one of the many waterfalls flowing through Glacier Gardens. Full of frustration about the large repair bill he was sure to see, he used the equipment arm to pick up a large tree by the root ball. He swung the excavator arm and slammed the inverted tree into the ground trunk first. The tree did not splinter and break, but instead stuck into the soft mud upside-down. Steve’s temper subsided as he sat in the machine and watched as the roots hung from the root-ball like the vines on a petunia basket. It only took moments before Steve had a vision of how to recycle the trees cleared from the development of the property: the design is called the the Upside-Down “Flower Tower.” Each “Flower Tower” is made by inverting a spruce or hemlock tree with the root ball pointing towards the sky. The tree is placed trunk first into the ground and buried 5-7 ft. Fish netting is placed inside the top of the root ball to collect soils, and mosses are laid down over the netting to provide nutrients and water base. Each year, Mr. Bowhay personally pants each Flower Tower with roughly 75 – 100 flowering plants for each guest’s enjoyment.
You can try planting your own Flower Tower using the steps below:
1.) Find a fallen tree, or other recyclable shrub or bush, with a suitable root-ball for planting. We’ve seen “bonzi” Flower Towers using a small inverted bush.
2.) Cut off the limbs and branches to leave just the trunk and root system on the tree. Clean the root-ball and trim the perimeter roots leaving the largest and most structural roots for securing the soil and plants. Size does matter..bigger is better!
3.) Dig a post hole as deep into the ground as you want the tree to stand above the ground. If a 5 foot tall tower is desired, a 10 foot tall tree is required so that 5 ft is buried with 5 ft left standing.
4.) Insert the tree trunk first into the post hole and backfill the hole to secure the tree in place.
5.) Put a mesh netting or other material on the top of the root-ball to ensure it will hold the soil and plants intact.
6.) Install a layer of moss or other nutrient base layer to capture rain water and distribute nutrients. We recycle the moss from the rainforest floor.
7.) Plant the tops of your Tower with as many plants and flowers as possible. We prefer tall plants that increase the height and “round-ness” of the tops of the towers, and trailing varieties such as Creeping Charlie to create a “flow” off the tops of the Tower.