Willow hurdling in Barry

Willow panels

I must admit we were slightly dreading the thought of weaving willow hurdles with children on a bitterly cold day in early February so we put it off till the next day which thankfully turned out relatively sunny and springlike.

Luckily we had a nice stock of golden willow so we were able to add some colour to these panels which are going to used as screening in a nursery.

The children quickly got into the swing of things as they wove the willow in and out of the uprights to the chant of ‘to me, to you’.

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Gypsies and Shoppers day two

Gypsy baskets

Vale Adult Learners took on the Gypsy Basket challenge last month and after a fair amount of sighing, the odd curse or two and cries of please no more packing, beautiful shaped baskets unfolded.

Welsh Shoppers round two

The second day of the welsh shopper course took place last month. It was a pretty cold day and once again we were all huddled around the fire at the Heritage Coast Centre. With hoops, handles and ribs all dried out it was a day of weaving the basket. It’s quite a tricky basket if you keep the traditional weave going and try and shape the basket at the same time. Also helps if you’re told how to start the basket off properly in the first place, I blame brain freeze…

More willow maintenance

A day at Slade in Southerndown

A lovely sunny Monday was the perfect day for a spot of maintenance and Slade House in Southerndown was the perfect spot for it. Walking down through the stunningly beautiful snowdrops and the purple crocus just about to burst open, was enough to lift anybody’s spirits. With the help of Mark the gardener we soon got to work and in no time at all we’d completed the beautiful willow arbour that sits at the bottom of the garden.

Next was the willow entranceway with a run of fedge either side of a short tunnel. The willow had thickened up nicely so we were able to create a roll top for the fedge and the tunnel had lots of small branches which we wove in. The result was very pleasing.

We finished off with the four way arch which had grown so well that we were able to create a canopy of woven willow that come spring time will burst into leaf and be a lovely source of shade for summer.

Set in six acres, Slade garden is an unexpected gem with masses of spring flowers. The terraced lawns, mature specimen trees, living willow arbours, rose and clematis pergola, orchard and herbaceous borders, create a very natural garden that also has extensive views over the Bristol Channel. The garden is open under the National Garden Scheme on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April this year and is well worth a visit.

I’m swapping my day’s work for some of their fantastic organic meat http://www.sladefarmorganics.com can’t wait for Sunday lunch!

Wonderful living willow

The living willow season is well and truly on us and we’ve already completed a fair few domes, tunnels, teepees and even a living willow dragon.

We had a lovely time at Ysgol Maes Y Coed both before Christmas doing a willow Christmas decoration day and last month building a willow fedge with colourful basket willow varieties so that the school can grow their own willow for craft and have a lovely living fence.

Big in Barry

We’ve also been big in Barry and had three days at Gladstone Primary and five days at Colcot Primary building mega domes, miles of tunnels and a whole village of teepees. With temperatures below freezing on quite a few occasions we’re all quickly beginning to resemble Nanook of the North and I found myself taking off 15 items of clothing before I entered the much needed willow bath. (That’s not an actual bath made of willow it’s a term used when you’ve been out willowing and freezing your nether regions off all day and the thing you most look forward to is a bath)

The year of the dragon

Snow! Just what you need when faced with three intensive days of living willow planting and just what we got in Bryn Bach Primary in Tredegar. The team were out en force and despite freezing conditions we managed to get all the willow planted and a reasonable dragon shape in three days. Many thanks Mary, Sarah L and Jo for helping out I couldn’t have managed without you. Back to add fiery breath and a nest of dragon’s eggs in a weeks time.