Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Waste not, want not


Over the last month on & off, I've been overhauling a neglected willow tunnel at a local school - more on that another day. Part of the deal was that I would take away the willow  they couldn't use, so I've ended up with a variety of lengths and sizes that will become basket handles and frames and plant supports and legs for willow animals.

I also had a couple of bundles of shortish, thinnish willow that was no use for basket making - it's quite a brittle variety and wouldn't make a border. Last year I learned how to make runs of low garden fencing and have been wanting to have a go but the willow I've had has all been intended for a specific purpose - until now!

An ex-sandpit...

There's a metre square patch of earth in the middle of our patio that used to be a sand pit; when our girls were tiny they would climb right into it and have a fine old time. More recently it has been a tiny vegetable garden but now we have raised beds that are more useful for that, so I decided to empty it out, build a little fence and make a planter.

Heath Robinson would be proud

I used a good old stick and string compass to make a circle, then set about preparing the uprights.

Stripping the willow - surprisingly time consuming!

Willow roots from its bark and I really don't have space for these to grow so I stripped all the bark from them, plunged them into the soil and will be watching like a hawk for any signs of life.

Sort of circular. Rustic, that's the word!

I wove around and around until I ran out of willow, secured the top edge and then had an awful thought ; I was planning to line the planter to protect the willow but what if the rods at the very bottom that are in close contact with the earth decided to root?

First row
Second row
In the end I cut a ring of pond liner and wriggled it between the base of the fence and the earth. I removed the middle to make sure water can drain, lined the planter itself and then filled it with compost. Done!

Nearly finished ...

Weaving done!

I decided to sow a bee friendly flower mix - I always grow flowers for cutting but these are a more haphazard jumble. I can't wait to see how they turn out!


  1. that is so terribly sweet! very nicely done...

  2. What a fun idea! I can't wait to see your flowers blooming. And, I know it's not wanted, but it would be a little bit funny if those uprights started growing LOL!

  3. What a great idea. I love Bee friendly flowers as well. Would love some cut flowers too but so do the local slugs as well!

  4. That will look gorgeous when its full of flowers!
    Is this the bed that is attracting the neighbourhood cats? I would construct a twiggy dome over it to keep the cats off AND for the flowers to grow through and give them support - they will need it in July when the stems are tall and top heavy and there's a thunderstorm ;-)

  5. Pure brilliance Mrs Dotty, it's already a thing of beauty but it is going to look stunning when your flowers come up. Isn't it lovely how different areas of our gardens get re-purposed over the years to suit the changing needs of our family? I'm sure a little part of you will always think of buckets and spades when you walk past your new wildflower planter x

  6. How lovely! What a great recycling project too. I was interested to learn that willow rooted from its bark - I didn't know that before. I look forward to seeing lovely photos of flowers and bees in the summer!

  7. I do like the look of this edging, and have seen similar designs used over in the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park. (If and when our weather thaws out, I'll try to remember to take some photographs for a blog.)

    I also didn't know that the willow bark is the source of roots. Interesting!


  8. You are so clever and creative, well done m'dear - looking forward to pictures when things are blooming.

  9. It's lovely and will look fabulous when it's full of flowers - roll on summer!

  10. what a great idea, it will be a perfect wild flower patch x

  11. What a fabulous idea ... do please share more pics when it's full of flowers.

  12. Lovely idea -it will look gorgeous spilling over with flowers!


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