Willow, weaving and weather
Yesterday saw the first of this year’s Nant y Bedd Garden Workshops – Support your Plants with Mick Petts – and what a great day it was.
How lucky we were with the weather, first of all. On Friday it poured down all day with just over an inch registered in the rain gauge. It was even spitting with rain as we set up. Then it started again as we were clearing up and stayed that way overnight, with another 3/4 inch in the gauge. But as soon as the first car arrived, the sun came out and, although it played peek-a-boo throughout the day, not a drop of rain was felt and some souls even took their lunch outside.
We’d been coppicing and pollarding during the week to ensure a good supply of material, but after a brief introduction …
…..it was off to the meadow to do a bit of DIY
For some different colour material, Mick had spotted the willow below the potager, so a quick bit of pollarding ….
…. then it was back to the yard and on with the production.
Using the big tubs made the job a bit easier, not so much bending and a solid base to keep the rods in place.
Mick brought along an ingenious tool that quickly wired together the individual rods and made for a really strong structure.
We managed to drag them away from their labours for a few minutes to enjoy home-made leek and potato soup and home grown blackcurrant and Worcesterberry crumble!
Mick then demonstrated the technique for weaving in the horizontal rods which will give the structure its final strength.
An additional bit of colour gives a beautiful finish.
One of the finished products, this time using string to make the original framework rather than wire ties. I reckon I could sit on that without it giving way. An excellent effort!
As everyone was finishing up, Clare asked about a particular project she had in mind. A runner bean frame using an old bicycle wheel! Mick was up to the challenge and these next two photos show the progress and the finished article. Lucky runner beans!.
Although the day concentrated on making the short style of support, Mick showed another example of what can be done with a bit of willow and hazel. I reckon I might have a go at making one like that in metal.
A lovely day, friendly and enthusiastic participants and a great deal of knowledge now scattered around the country (and even to Normandy!). Hard work, but well worth the effort.
Apologies to anyone present whose photo or creation doesn’t appear here but there were so many …..