Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Willow Love & Mishaps

For any of you that may have tuned in to this blog over the winter months (or maybe I should rephrase that as the winter MONTH....), you may have seen signs that there is a bit of willow growing on this flower farm....catkins abound!  Now that spring is springing rapidly into place we continue to find ways to use the willow and this past weekend had a lovely time of it.  A willow trellis for our soon to be growing pole beans; a trio of tomato cages; and one "fary party" concoction of willow, monstera leaves (pruned from our indoor plant) and other odds and sods.

If you have access to any willow, from a store or from a bush you might be pleased to know that should you want more, willow is extremely easy to root.  In fact, it is so easy that despite my best efforts to dry our willow out before using it, I will have to remove my fine work from the garden beds tomorrow and let it set awhile longer.  The shoots are already producing roots and lovely little bits of foliage.  While I love my new trellis, it is meant for the beans.
For my own future reference, willow can easily be cut in the fall, dried over winter, and soaked in spring to regain pliability.  The ability to twist and bend the willow is the primary reason I wanted to work with it.  Last year I used bamboo, which while pretty, was so stiff it was hard to really manipulate the shapes I needed.
I will check in soon and let you know how this late-stage drying process goes.  In the meantime, here's a rundown of what we put together.

Vertical pussy willow (salix discolor) poles placed 5 inches apart, tied at the top in an inverted V-shape.  Horizontal poles for trellis-like support.  Additional horizontal poles can be added as needed. 
An example of how each pole is tied in place.  I used wax covered twine for a snug hold.
Meanwhile a Fairy Party was taking place.  A spot fit for afternoon tea.

One thing I know for sure, to sing while you work is proof of joy.

Tomato Cage: Pussy willow (salix discolor) poles wrapped with thin tendrils of curly willow (salix matsudana)

Fortunately all of these constructions are easily removed from the garden beds and placed in our studio to dry out.  The beans will need a trellis relatively soon but we should be ok.  I'm thinking I may form this particular trellis into a tunnel for the kids and go to plan B for the beans...otherwise I might be wrapping duct tape around the roots and doesn't that just sound so awful?  Stay tuned and.....
Thanks for stopping by,

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