How to Weave Waddle and Other Natural Garden Supports, Arbors, & Obelisks from Willow

Last week, I visited the Cloisters, an heirloom. Medieval Garden in New York City. More than anything else, I wanted to see how the garden experts at the Cloisters wove willow together to create natural garden supports, like arbors and obelisks.

Runner Bean Vines Climb Cane Wigwam Frames

Photo Credit diy

My cottage garden is a work in progress, but I ultimately want to have a potager, a special type of cottage garden where vegetables are grown alongside flowers. A potager is also called a kitchen garden.

“Small gardens need to look their best year round and usually have no room for a separate vegetable garden, but with a little imagination, vegetables can look striking alongside flowers and produce a tasty harvest, too.” See the full article at diy Here

The secret to growing an abundance of plants on a small piece of ground is growing upward on arbors and trellises, and that requires a network of trellises and fences. At the very least, many of us would like to grow some tomato plants in our gardens, but even tomato plants need support and metal tomato cages are an aesthetic buzz kill. The alternative is to create natural garden cages.

Here is a short video introduction to weaving or braiding natural waddles or hurdles:

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The book Rustic Garden Projects explains how to expand the process and create several woven or braided willow trellises.

Images from Amazon, where the book can be purchased.

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Weave A Willow Wall

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Weave An Obelisk Around a Planter

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Weave a Free-Standing Obelisk for Sweet Peas [and Nasturtiums]

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Page 30, where the project was begun, was not included in the book preview

The artisan created a template from a piece of wood and drilled holes around the outer diameter of circle on the wood.  The size of that circle would determine the width of the obelisk.  The obelisk shown has a circumference of 113 cm or about 45 inches.  Around that circumference, she drilled 17 holes.

She placed the plank of wood on some rocks, allowing the canes to go through the drilled holes.  The part that goes through will be what is stuck into the ground. To hold them in place, she tied the poles at the top, with string.   She braided a double cross braid around the bottom of the poles, immediately next to the board.   Continue this lower border about 5 inches up from the board, or 12 cm.  To end the weaving, double the end piece backwards and tuck it into the weaving at a 90 degree bend, next to one of the poles.

She stuck a thicker cane through to the board, immediately right of each of the poles that go through the board, toward the ground.  This thicker pole does not go through the holes in the board.  It rests on the board.

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Weave the middle border about 24″ [or 60 cm] above the bottom border .  Braid this border about 2.5 inches high [or 6 cm].

Braid another 2.5 inch border around the top of the poles.  Then do the following:

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Hammer 4 rebars deep into the ground and anchor the obelisk to those.

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Weave a Fan Trellis

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Other Books Using Willows for Creative Projects

  • Making Rustic Furniture: The Tradition, Spirit, and Technique with Dozens of Project Ideas, by Mack
  • Cane, Rush and Willow Weaving with Natural Materials, Cameron
  • Making Twig Garden Furniture, by Ruoff
  • Rustic Furniture Workshop, by Mack
  • A Bend in the Willows: The Art of Making Rustic Furniture, by Dolphin
  • Making Bentwood Trellises, Arbors, Gates & Fences, by Jim Long
  • Willow Basketry by Verdet-Fierz

 

 

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