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Making my own plant supports

So I have decided this year to try and get my plant supports in early. I have lots of bought metal ones which I will use first but they're nowhere near enough for the floppy specimens that I seem to grow.

We have lots of hazel that I will try to use - lots of stout, two-pronged sticks. We also have lots of elder clippings which are lovely and bendy and I was thinking of weaving into a circular form to keep the peonies neat. In looking for more info however I realise that I've never seen elder mentioned as something that can be woven or used. Is there a reason for this does anyone know?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,747
    Have a look on Pinterest - plenty of ideas for forms and material, including elder.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you @Obelixx I will.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 464
    I went on a Sarah Raven course where she demo'd the making of huge obelisks to support summer climbers. She used hazel canes with lots of side growth which she gathered in her hand and twisted as she brought more in and moved around the structure, working upward.

    The alternative (I have previously employed) is to use long branches of hazel and then strengthen the structure with willow circles woven around the uprights at staggered intervals from 1-2ft above ground level to the top. Or you could spiral the willow but that involves continually adding in new stems as you spiral upwards. You can employ the same methods for shorter supports.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 65,350
    edited November 2020
    Personally I would not use elder. In my experience it is very brittle because of its pithy centre and dries out and splinters after a very short time. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Thank you @Dovefromabove, I had wondered if there was a reason as to why I didn't see elder used / recommended more often and I guess that would be a good reason.

    @rachelQrtJHBjb thank you, that's useful. We have lots of hazel. Willow seems to be quite expensive to buy so I'm going to try and find a way to use what I have - a short course might be a good thing to do. I think I'd quite like to do that.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 22,747
    I have done three willow weaving courses, 2 in Belgium with a British teacher and one here with French chap.  I was chuffed to bits with my Belgian willow obelisk but it lasted just one winter out in the garden.

    2nd project was for indoors and is still good, 20 years later.   The local project resulted in a basket so should last a while too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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