Living willow structure
The_herpetologist Posts: 481
I have my heart set on installing a living willow tunnel in my garden. I have found a supplier who will send me the willow and instructions. There are also willow weavers who will come and make structures but charge a fee that would render the project out of my price range. My question is, am I to believe the supplier when they say that willow designs are easy to create or should I save and have it done by a professional? I want something like this:
Something like that would be pretty straight forward, plant them in a row and when they're tall enough bend them over to meet at the top. Interweave between the uprights as you go. Willow is very pliable in youth, you can knot and plait, anything you like.
In the sticks near Peterborough
I reckon that you could make a good go of that. Once you have your willow 'wands' I guess you push them into the ground, evenly spaced in a double row the width you want the tunnel to be. Next it might be an idea to put in braces to keep the wands in place. Bend over the tops of opposite wands and tie them securely together. Then I guess you just watch and wait. Having woven with willow I know that you can soak it to keep it supple before 'planting' it in the ground.
It really is as easy as said, just hard graft. I did a 'dome' for one of my local schools and it seated 30 children. The entrance was a low tunnel, igloo style, which the children loved because the teacher had to almost crawl to get in. It was about 12ft. across, 8ft. tall. I use 12ft. plus rods at 18 inch intervals for the main frame, tied them at the top with jute string, and then wove in shorter diagonals as support and to thicken the structure. At about the 3ft mark I also wove in a double line of hazel 'binders' to add stability to the whole structure. Prep was hard - into clay, but the first move was to dig dug out a 1ft x 1ft planting channel into which to push/plant the rods. In clay that was plenty. Not one failed and the resultant growth has been spectacular. However, it does require regular maintenance, which used to be done in late summer, when some of the new shoots were woven in, others removed entirely.
Great thanks for the advice. I just needed some reassurance that it wouldn't end up being one of those projects that I leap into with ill-deserved confidence before realising that I was out of my depth. I'm gonna give it a go based on this advice.
Pics to follow.
A couple of pics for info. Hope they assist. First one a few weeks after planting.