An intriguing combination of art and agriculture blooms at the Children’s Discovery Museum.

Earlier this month, professor and artist Sam Van Aken planted what will become a Tree of 40 Fruits at the Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose. The project entails grafting the branches of different fruit trees together to create one colorful tree. Van Aken thought the museum seemed like a perfect place for the tree. “I saw grafting when I was very young and it’s the most amazing thing in the world for kids,” he said.

The tree is apart of a larger expansion project that will expand the museum’s exhibit space by 27,500 feet, nearly double the current size.

Aken incorporates local agriculture history into the tree and found that “there’s no one with such rich, diverse and historic fruit stock west of the Mississippi as Andy Mariani.” As in the Andy Mariani, the proud owner of Andy’s Orchard in Morgan Hill, who is one of the few farmers who still stocks rare heirloom varieties of fruits.

The tree will produce 40 variations of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds. When the tree blooms the beautiful colors of the flowers will create a delicate pattern of pinks, purples, crimson and white. This is the first tree of its kind to be planted on the West Coast, but Van Aken hopes there will be more in the future.

The tree is apart of the museum’s larger project aimed at educating children about local agriculture practices and sustainable farming. Marilee Jennings, executive director of the Children’s Discovery Museum, said the new expansion will focus on the outdoors and giving kids the opportunity to explore on their own.

The Tree of 40 fruit will stand in the center of the new garden, Marilee said, because “we felt the tree is such a symbol of the intersection of nature and art.” The expansion is expected to start later this year and finish next summer. Below is an artist rendering of the garden expansion.