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Axel Erlandson was a Swedish American bean farmer in the Central Valley of California.  In 1925, Axel began shaping trees as a hobby, using pruning, grafting, and bending techniques that he learned along the way.  Many years later in 1947, Axel opened a roadside attraction called, "The Tree Circus."  When people asked him how he got the trees to grow like that, he would respond, "I talk to them."

Needle and Thread Tree by Axel Erlandson (December 1884 – April He was a Swedish American farmer who shaped trees as a hobby, and opened a horticultural attraction in 1947 advertised as "See the World's Strangest Trees Here," and named "The Tree Circus".