Monday, December 15, 2008

Great piece of bark - what should I do with it?

I was driving home from work a couple weeks ago when I noticed a huge piece of bark on the side of the road.  It had fallen off the side of a large tree that had been cut down.  The tree had been chopped off at the height of the fence (about 6') and the bark slid off the tree several years later

Like a football scout (it is that season), I looked at it and all I could see was potential.  I came back that evening and loaded it up in my wife's SUV.  Now it's sitting on my back porch waiting to be put to good use.  The bark measures about 6 feet x 2.5 feet.  You should be able to see from the picture how big it is.  It also has really good character.

Me holding up the prized piece of bark. Look how big!
The only problem is deciding what to do with it.  I have a couple of ideas, but haven't acted on anything yet.  Mainly my ideas focus on climbing plants.

1. I could construct a sort of stand and mount the bark on it, holding it upright.  Then I could start to train some of my climbers to attach to it.  I have a lot of good plant candidates (mostly Aroids) for this.  I have just begun to train a couple of my Aroids to climb up some stakes I made.  These are Philodendron microstictum and Scindapsus pictus (one of my favorite plants).

Clippings of Scindapsus pictus that I have staked for climbing.
2. One of the most common uses for bark among "planty" people is for mounting orchids.  However, I am kind of out of my orchid swing right now.  I have had as many as 5 orchids in the past, but I only have one right now and it has moved to my mother-in-law's house because it wasn't doing very well under my care.  This huge piece of bark would look amazing covered in orchids, but if I decide to use it in that manner I'll be putting it on hold for now.  I'm also not sure if this bark would be most appropriate for mounting orchids.  I suppose it couldn't hurt.  But orchid-mounting bark usually is more porous and can be soaked in water.  This piece of bark would not be a good fit for that kind of use due to its size, as well as its texture.

Do you have any ideas about how this great piece of bark could be used?


  1. The climbers would work, but it seems a pity that in the end the bark would be covered... Though I suppose it will eventually rot anyway.
    No thoughts apart from that anyway... Maybe if you could use it as a kind of place to put some flower pots or something (i.e. same idea as orchids, but less work)?

  2. Stagehorn fern would look cool mounted on it.

  3. Julian-
    Yeah, it will rot in the end anyway, but hopefully I can prolong its life by placing it indoors or in a protected environment.
    Thanks for the idea.

  4. Deb-
    You're right. A staghorn fern would look great! And I've been wanting to get one of those for quite a while, so this would be a good excuse. :)

  5. You know, that piece of bark looks quite familiar. In fact, I thought about picking it up myself. Isn't it from our neighbor's on the corner? The staghorn fern would look good. Actually, aren't there some other plants, like bromoliads(sp?) that also might grow on it?
    I think it would look good to use it as a trellis for the pictured plant and also have some other plants growing on it, as a little plant community. :-) If you need a section of actual metal trellis, I have a piece that I am not using.
    Great Find!

  6. [...] Vote Great piece of bark - what should I do with it? [...]

  7. Hi Zach... I love that piece of bark. How beautiful. and thanks for all your kind messages.. I have been thinking about doing some drawings of the different types of bark but it means drawing outside ( phew I was tired this week ) but might be a really nice idea for next week..all except Thursday :)..

  8. Personally, I think you should just mount it on piece of cut to size stained plywood and display it as artwork. The texture and shape is cool in itself.

  9. This is a very nice site you have here. I stumbed upon it while i was searching scindapsus pictus. I like taxonomy mostly for south american catfish, but I recently visited washington botanical gardens, and i realized how interesting plant taxonomy is. I have always had a fair amount of plants in the background for my terrariums, and for decoration, but I think I'm going to start propagating all of my arum family plants, and I'm going to start buying up bromeliads like a mad man (my dad thinks they would look nice mounted on bark on walls)

    anyway I look forwards to seeing more posts they are very informative/inspiring

    regards Nicofish