Tree Stump Poetry

The tree stumps say 'We are tree stumps torn out of the ground by men, sometimes by the wind, we have big tendrils full of earth that drink out of the earth'  - Jack Kerouac, 'Big Sur'

Tree stumps are the remnants of a life. Strong, rooted and vibrant...a living memory of a place. Logs from these stumps should be polished, oiled and celebrated....

This is what the King of Thailand did when he halted the heavy logging that threatened to destroy Thailand's teak forests. He first replanted thousands of trees and created more than 100 teak farms and then offered dense and fine-grained teak trunks for sale. When polished with teak oil they develop a softly lustrous patina and are, indeed, living 'odes to a tree'.

In the Celtic language, “trees” meant “letters,” and “Beech” was a synomym for “literature.” (Robert Graves) My course of study in tree stump 'poetry' began in a beech forest amidst ancient stumps and shady woods.... Working with a dear client, Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, I reveled in the magic of beech trees in his hidden gem of a wooded slope and stream...Grand Beeches towered overhead as we carefully created a path and steps into this wonderland. Rotting stumps lay all around and Jeff knew immediately what to do with them but did not say a word. When I returned 3 weeks later to check on our woodland garden I discovered what he had done:

Sculpture by Jeffrey Goldstein - Ode to Tree Stumps (my name for it )

by Jeff Goldstein

by Jeffrey Goldstein, Tree Stump Tower ( my name for it)

I was amazed..Jeff had said nothing to me at the time but when I returned there it was - a woodland sculpture!  He has done so much more since was as if the trees unleashed this good doctor's 'inner artist' and he has done amazing things in the past year...(more on his garden at a later date)...but I credit the tree stumps for it all. 

So if you have some tree stumps lying around in your garden - do not despair! There are myriad things you can these:
Make eco-planters like Aris Georgiades did along a about this fun idea.

fashion a log bench from one big tree....

make some stools....

or a light - this is 'Burn' by Gail Simpson...

make some bowls and paint them ( Loyal Loot) ....

pave an area in your garden with them...gaperville

or use them in a natural fitness trail! (cool idea)

If you have any ideas on re using logs and stumps please comment and share them - I would love to hear all.....and this is the master of them all :


  1. I love the planters and also the bowls and paver ideas! I wonder if they are hard to hollow out.

    A few years ago we took out a big red maple in our backyard. The stump is cut level and is about 18" tall - we use it for a table. A chunk of the trunk was cut into a chair with a back. It's a nice little setup for a small person. It's starting to grow fungus now so I'm thinking of sanding it down and applying a finish. Great post!

  2. Sometimes the most beautiful things are the simplest. I love all of these ideas! I am feeling very inspired by these photos. Thanks!

  3. Lovely post. When we first moved out here, a mini tornado came through our woods and took down a great oak. My husband took the wood to a sawyer and had a friend bring a large piece of the trunk to the house, where we installed it beside the back door. It held up well for years; I hated to see it go.

    Great idea that, JGH, making a tree trunk table. I love the Uncle Wiggly picnic stories in wnich Nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy put white table cloths on all the tree trunks. I bought an early edition of that story, which also features large pumpkin pies, at a flea market over the protest of the dealer's young son. Mean of me, but I had to have it.

  4. I did not remember about nurse Jane Fuzzy Wuzzy...must look it up! what a great image - white table cloths.

  5. Wow, So creative and beautiful. It is a reminder that everything is of use, Where one person may see an eye sore of a stump in their garden and another sees a work of art. What a gift to be able to see such beauty in you minds eye. Keep creating,sharing, and bringing energy back into what would appear to be something without.
    Mahalo, Richard

    1. aloha! so glad to have met you in Hawaii.....

  6. Hollow hardwood stumps like Goldstein's are my favourite for splitting for firewood - they're usually nice and dry. I do like the idea of using stumps as planters, and will give it a try this spring.

  7. Questions... Are any of the trees pictured from Pine trees? or all they all Oak? Thanks for the great ideas! (hope we could do this w/ pine trees maybe too much sap??

  8. I think the pine trees haver too much sap...and are soft wooded...but read about the Pine's energy in this blog - 'White Pine - Tree of Peace'.

  9. I have mosaic some 4 logs from a tree stump i got from a friend
    i look beautiful in your garden . i am sending in my article to Craftwise magazine for the march - april 2013 issue
    check it out
    cá Momberg
    Glacermo CC

  10. Tree stumps are the remnants of a life. Strong, rooted and vibrant...a living memory of a place. Logs from these stumps should be polished, oiled and celebrated....


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