November 6, 2013

Willow Withies

This photo of wattle fencing at Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in West Sussex, England, as seen on facebook posted by Roots, Shoots & Leaves,
led to a bit of obsessive picture research on my part. (Lots of pretty photos at Inspiration Green.) We have an entire understory of invasive honeysuckle shrubbery to remove from our land which I'd like to use in some way. These woven fences seem like a perfect match. If the green honeysuckle is pliable enough, that is. The variety that plagues our little bit of forest isn't the vine kind, it's a woody shrub that unchecked can grow to tree-like proportions.

Combine this little obsession with the raging storm we had on Halloween and I'm lost in the realm of woven stick possibilities. The storm brought down one of the dead trees on our lot. Which led to the Hubbers firing up the chainsaw over the weekend and us playing lumberjack to take down other dead trees we've been meaning to remove. The first to go was a dead weeping willow. Which means I now have an enormous pile of withies to play with. Lucky me!

Since we have yet to establish any garden beds in need of wattle edging, I might try my hand at making some planters like this one from Natural Fencing. What I imagine is a screen of sorts for the many flower box shaped containers I have. My woven planters wouldn't have bottoms, they'd simply surround the containers to dress them up a bit. I picture them lined up along the edge of the front porch, in place of the plastic railing that I find an eyesore. We shall see if execution lives up to imagination.
Image credit: © Natural Fencing
Source: http://www.naturalfencing.com/lev4_13_0_0_Planters.asp
In the meantime, to work up the confidence to tackle planter construction, I've started small. These little stars are fun. Because my withies are somewhat brittle - who knows how long ago the willow tree died - I soaked them in warm water for a few hours. I created a star "loom" by driving nails into a board in the shape of the star. Each place where the twine wraps the star there is a nail in the "loom." Then I wove the withies around the nails (2-3 layers), pulled the star off the "loom," and wrapped each point and intersection with hemp twine. I love their simple, rustic charm (if I do say so myself).

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