In modern life much of our infra-structure, machinery and day to day utensils are built from man-made materials such as concrete, rubber, metal and plastic.
It is therefore easy to forget that not so long ago our forefathers relied on many and varied natural substances and materials to build and furnish their homes, create tools, provide paints and dyes for colour, and design artistic and decorative pieces for personal or ritual use.
Willow (Salix) is one such adaptable building material that nature provides. It is often used to weave different types of baskets as well as sturdy fences and even chairs. It also comes in various colours which adds value to the finished product.
Willow garden structures are relatively simple to construct. Willow roots easily in late Spring in damp ground. The cut willow rods are inserted in the ground and tied together to form the basic structure. Here they will take root and grow. New growth can then be woven back into the structure to create a dense wall of foliage. All structures are generously sized and sturdy.
It is easy and fun to create willow hedges, bowers, dens, arbours and walkways. For the more adventurous, wigwams, chairs and sofas would be challenging projects.
Here at the arboretum, in the Spring of March 2023, it was decided that one volunteer project that would be fascnating to undertake, would be to construct a living willow tunnel.
The story of the construction of the willow structure is contained in the volunteering blog. Click on the link below to see the first entry about the willow in our blog.