Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Willow weaves and light metal.

Top-of-the-stone-wall makeover time. Or, in normal, old-fashioned english, remaking the willow-weave fence that sits on top of the stone-faced wall we can see from our conservatory. Here's what it looked like before (you see, it could be on a makeover TV programme):

I did the willow topping several years ago, and here you can see it's all rotting away. Joe stuck in a couple of upright supports to stop it disintegrating altogether.

First gather your willow. The yellow stuff on the ground is a type of basket willow got from friends years ago. There's a red version too which looks really pretty where it's growing alongside the drive. Not long enough, though, for this job. The yellow is just about, and its colour is glorious.

The mainstay of the weave, though, is the mile-a-minute stuff that has provided quick and excellent growth in hedges around the place. Cut it to the ground and back it comes every year filled with early pussy willows appreciated by the first bumble bees out of hibernation. It came from the same friends with the label bio-mass. You can make structures out of it too - arbours and the like.

So willows cut and trimmed. Then remove the old stuff.

A few extra willow branches cut and trimmed, then the fun bit. New posts to wind the willows between and here's the result:

It looks so pretty when freshly done! The yellow will fade with time, but the structure should be good now for another several years.

Good to get outside and work on a satisfying project. Great weather for it - absolutely still. So still it seems somehow unreal, like being in a giant bowl some massive creature has made into a toy garden.

A side-effect of the willow weaving was willow cuttings. They work well stuck straight into the ground but I put these in pots in the greenhouse alongside the pretty little yellow flowers, whose name I should know, which seeded themselves liberally in the gravel at the edge of the courtyard. A common summer planting for tubs, I'll have plenty for next year.

There's flowering currant here too. And lavender. I'll have to watch it though as the winter progresses. Mice got into last year's lavender cuttings looking, I suppose, for roots when there was little else to eat.

Finally here's a green dock leaf beetle (Gastrophysa viridula don't ya know) that's settled in shiny accommodation that makes it feel at home. These beetles wear metallic-looking jackets that shimmer in sunlight and can appear anything from bronze to violet to green.

More dry weather please - I still have weeds to pull.

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