• You can change this text in the Header Widget on the Widgets page

Live Willow-work with schools

Winter is the time to use live willow, and get your kids outside having fun and keeping warm while they build a den for themselves. Living willow takes root so easily in damp ground that you only need to make a hole with a metal rod (at least a foot deep) and push the dormant willow stems in. Only problem is if you have stony ground – so review where you want to make your living willow structure with a poker/crowbar before you decide!


I grow several different colours of thinner willow for basket making as well as for obelisks and dens if left to grow for a second year. Calculating how big you can make your dome or tunnel depends on the length of the willow rods available- don’t forget after 1 foot goes into the ground you still have to tie in the top and leave headroom – but if it’s for children it doesn’t have to be so high!

Willow is very good for early pollinators like Bumblebees coming out of hibernation, as it is one of the very first things to flower.

Willow is so supple that you can also weave smaller stems in between to make cross-pieces and patterns to hold the structure together. I kept these school children warm by letting them have turn at banging the plastic pegs (with a rubber-covered club hammer) into the ground to fix the plastic membrane down (this is necessary to keep down the competition from grass in the early days; you can cover it with some bark chipping mulch to make it comfy afterwards) then they can also bang in the metal rods for the uprights while singing the old song (I adapted it to this project);
‘Rare Bog a rattling bog and a bog down in the valley-o!
Rare Bog a rattling bog and the bog was filled with Willow!
verse 1. and in this bog there was a tree,
a rare tree, a rattling tree!
and the tree in the bog
and the bog down in the valley-o!
chorus; ‘Rare Bog a rattling bog and a bog down in the valley-o!
Rare Bog a rattling bog and the bog was filled with Willow!

verse 2.
and on this tree there was a branch,
a rare branch, a rattling branch!
and the branch was on the tree, and the tree was in the bog
and the bog down in the valley-o!
chorus
verse 3. and on this branch there was a twig
a rare twig, a rattling twig!
and the twig was on the branch,
and the branch was on the tree,
and the tree was in the bog
and the bog down in the valley-o!
chorus
verse 4. And on this twig there was a leaf,
so long and thin, a rattling leaf!
and the leaf on the twig,
and the twig on the branch,
and the branch on the tree, and the tree down in the valley-o!
chorus
verse 5.and on this leaf there was a caterpillar,
a rare caterpillar, a rattling caterpillar
etc.& chorus
verse 6.and on the twig there was a catkin,
a rare catkin, a rattling catkin,
etc. & chorus
verse 7. and on this catkin was some pollen,
rare pollen, rattling pollen
etc.& chorus
verse 8. And on this pollen fed some bees
rare bees, rattling bees!
etc. & chorus

you can buy willow rods or a kit with all the instructions to make your own living willow project on the website www.7wells.co.uk in the woodland section

tunnel

inside tunnel-cum-archwillowork sm Christchurch kids

finished dome Christchurchsm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *