Two-Headed Giraffe

Symbiotic Fun for the neighborhood

Did you know giraffes have crazy long tongues too? They use them to reach even higher and get the leaves around thorns. This Giraffe is plucking an apple, carved out of red Padauk wood, because the giraffe is made out of an apple tree. The giraffe has a visitor too, the yellow-billed oxpecker, which picks the ticks off of its back.


I was enjoying a walk in Brookside Gardens (part of the Wheaton Regional Park at 1800 Glenallan Ave., Silver Spring, Md.) February 2022 when I saw Colin Vale working on a large sycamore tree that the park had cut down. It was cold and not great weather but he was busy carving a pine cone/acorn/maple leaf sculpture almost 20 feet tall. I asked him if he would come and look at a dead apple tree in my front yard that I was loath to cut down as the birds loved to nest in it and it was animal friendly. I had already had another tree sculptor look at it but he said he wouldn't take the job as the tree was rotting away. That sculptor was correct but old trees are a boon to a forest and nesting birds and I wanted to save it if at all possible.

Colin visited my yard soon after and we started a lively conversation about possible ideas for a tree sculpture. We came up with the idea of giraffes because there were 2 large branches remaining that were just crying out to be giraffe necks. As the work progressed we also incorporated a yellow-billed oxpecker bird eating a parasite off the back of the giraffe. That bird is symbiotic with the giraffe in the wild; I found a picture of it in the Montgomery County Library. Colin also included a larger than life tick (the parasite) in the mouth of the bird as well as one on the back of the giraffe. He also surprised me by making an apple on the end of the long tongue of the giraffe. After all this was an apple tree.

We had great fun creating this art work and if you want an unusual creative wood carving on your property Colin should be your sculptor of choice. He is an original artist who created a sculpture that has made my whole neighborhood more friendly. Many people drive by, take pictures and leave with smiles on their faces. I am attaching photos of the work for your enjoyment.

Testimonial by Joanna Scherer, August 2022