Using Willow in the Garden
01/01/2013 Willow "withies" for artwork, sculpture and ideal for making garden structures from simple woven border edging to all kinds of trellis and plant supports. From our own withy bed we can supply living willow ( in season ) for creating hideouts, seat bowers, screens and living sculptures. A instruction booklet is freely available on request when ordering green willows . Our delivery service covers the U.K. mainland.
Somerset willows (or withies) are the favourite material of the British basketmaking industry and are now increasingly used to create many kinds of garden structures. This section describes many that can be made by the beginner such as wigwams and borders as well as more advanced projects like the rose arch and spider's web.
The weavers are supplied supple and ready to use between January and April after which time they may need soaking to achieve maximum flexibility. This is done by submerging in cold water for seven days or by pouring very hot water over and wrapping in an old blanket (or the like) three times a day for three days.
The durability of willow structures varies depending on the severity of the climate they are exposed to. Preservatives are not normally used, the growing plants on trellises etc. themselves give some protection. If preservatives are used wait until the structure has dried out thoroughly.
Each project shows the materials to order and also the approximate amount that will be used to make that particular item, should you wish to calculate the overall amount of material required when making more than one item. An instruction booklet covering all of these projects and some variations is freely available on requst when ordering willows from the list shown below. You may like to adapt these to your own specifications. All you need is a good pair of hands and a few common tools such as secateurs, hammer, string etc.
All sizes are approximate in centimetres unless shown otherwise.
Dia. = diameter at thickest end.
L = length H = height W = width
Subject to availability and seasonal variation
TWO WOVEN BANDS
35 dia x 102 H order 1 Pk. C
approx. 22 weavers (no sticks required)
41 dia x 168 H order 1 Pk. C & 1 W2007 approx. 21 weavers & 7 medium sticks
53 dia x 183 H order 1 Pk.C & 1 W2007 approx. 27 weavers & 9 medium sticks
THREE WOVEN BANDS
53 dia. X 183 H order 1 Pk.C, 1 W2007 approx.45 weavers & 9 medium sticks
41 dia. X 168 H order 1 Pk.C & 1 W2007 approx. 14 weavers & 7 medium sticks
53 dia. X 183 H order 1 Pk.C & 1 W2007 approx 19 weavers & 9 medium sticks
PARALLEL OR SPLAYED
Order 1 Pk.B & 1 W2007 per trellis
approx. 93 weavers & 7 sticks Parallel 97 W x 183 H
approx. 73 weavers & 7 sticks Splayed 100 W x 183 H
117 dia. (46 H grow-thru)
Order 1 Pk. C & 1 W2007(+ 1 W2005 for grow-thru)
approx 39 weavers & 8 medium sticks
(3 Extra thick sticks for grow-thru)
Order 1 Pk.B & 1 W2007 for 300 W x 23 H approx 100 weavers & 5 medium sticks
order 1 Pk.B, 1 Pk.C, & 1 W2007
150 weavers & 7 medium sticks
approx. for 91 W x 107 H
Half round shaped cowl
order 2 Pk. B & 2 W2007
200 weavers & 15 sticks approx. for 60 W x 76 H
Enhance a metal rose arch (not supplied)available from DIY/catalogue stores. Order 1 Pk. B for 105 W x 40 D x 197 H
Plant dome order 1 Pk. C
42 weavers approx. for 61 dia. X 57 H
A host of living willow structures can be created from salix viminalis or salix vinalis x salix caprea, varietes of willow which are tolerant of most soil types.
Contrary to popular belief willow does not need an excessively wet environment, it survives quite happily in the same conditions as most other trees and shrubs. The willow rods are supplied without roots, they should be pushed into the soil about 15 cm. As the structures are fairly open at this stage they have proven to withstand quite severe winds and soon develop roots which anchor the structure by the time there is significant top growth. A weed suppressing membrane laid on bare earth saves much tedious weeding just push the rods through. If planting on grassed areas you can make small collars from plastic wastepipe to protect the soft bark from grass cutting machinery.
Willows do best with plenty of light so choose an open site, if you are concerned about the suitability of your planting environment then please contact us for advice. The best time for planting is January to April, though the season may vary from year to year. The new growth can be woven in (and/or trimmed back during the first Winter) to fill in the structure.
The longest lengths we can send are 230 cm, personal visitors to the centre can (subject to availability) purchase longer lengths by arrangement. Please place your order in good time. Live willows should be stood in water or heeled into moist earth until you are ready to plant.
Described below are practical uses for living willow, (detailed instructions are enclosed with every mail order) these can easily be adapted to your own ideas - such as artistic living willow sculptures.
Provides Summer shade & privacy
order 1 Pk. A & 1 Pk. C
200 dia. X 170 H (bench not supplied)approx. 19 living willows and 35 weavers
order 1 Pk. A & 1 Pk. C
160 dia. X 140 H
approx 25 living willows and 50 weavers
Single density order
1 Pk. A = 450 W x 183 H
Double density order
1 Pk. A = 225 W x 183 H
We recommend screens over 90 cm high are reinforced with post & rails or similar support (not supplied)
1 Pk. A = 1300 W x 71 H