Monday, 30 January 2012

get spirally creative

This post is for my new follower 'Brighton Girl'.  Welcome to the Crafty Gardener!



It's been such a mild winter so far this year with bright sunny mornings tempting us out into the garden to look for the first signs of spring.  Snowdrops, the fair maids of February, and crocuses should be flowering soon if you've managed to deter hungry wild life from digging up any bulbs you might have planted last autumn.

Spiral willow plant cloches as illustrated in 'Practical Basketry Techniques' by Stella Harding and Shane Waltener

Don't think your bulbs will be safe in pots.  In fact, a nice potful of bulbs smothered in soft, fresh bulb-fibre is nothing more than pre-packed, fast-food to a squirrel.   You can foil these pesky tree rats though with a crafty spiral plant cloche.  Late winter is the time for cutting willow and other coppice trees such as hazel, ash or lime.   If you haven't any suitable trees in your own garden check with friends and neighbours to see if you can beg a few rods to try this project.  Alternatively, you might invest in a small bolt of green willow or dried brown willow from an organic grower - it will come in handy for lots of garden projects.  You'll need to soak and mellow dried willow before use so check for details and the recipe for these willow cloches in 'Practical Basketry Techniques'. 

Here's a couple I made for my own garden - larger ones can be used as plant supports or to keep birds off  newly sown veggie seeds.

Primula vulgaris overlooking the box parterre at Restoration House, Rochester, UK

And here's a view of  'the other garden' later in the season.  The snowdrops and crocuses have faded and gone like the winter blues and out come primroses, primroses, primroses!