A few ideas for the garden using willow

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I am still in a bit of a bubble since RHS Malvern and I keep going over all the things I’ve seen in my head – as there was so much to see! There were some great ideas from Malvern that I wanted to share with you as I’m hoping to try and create them in my garden (fingers crossed). I am just at that stage now, where I am trying to work out in my head if they will work where I want to put them and how I’m actually going to do them.

I’ve been really interested in making an arch way out of natural materials to go over a small path (two paving slabs) so that I can trail my sweet peas and some beans over the arch and it will also give the garden some character in the winter months. Being in a rented property I wanted to create something that is easy to move and is not permanent, as much as I love the garden it is not technically mine. I wanted to use natural materials to make the archway as I wanted something that blended in to its environment and hopefully that in time would benefit the gardens wildlife.

Willow was featured in quite a lot of gardens!
Willow was featured in quite a lot of gardens!

I’ve been toying with the idea of using willow for the arch and RHS Malvern was full of different willow techniques – no archways unfortunately! However it confirmed my thoughts that it would be a good material to use! Instead there were willow path edgings, willow fences, willow supports/obelisks and willow baskets! It was willow-tastic!


I was really taken with the willow edging as I have been looking at edging a few of my borders to neaten them up and also to stop my dogs walking through the borders (they don’t seem to realise that a plant wasn’t grown to be walked on – bless!). There were a few  different types of edging that caught my eye and I’ve included the photo’s below, I’d love to know what you think!

The first border edging that I came across was on a beautiful Plant nursery stand. They had created a miniature snippet of a garden to showcase the plants they had for sale. The miniature garden was gorgeous, with some lovely romantic planting full of peonies and an old bench with a tea set and a couple of flowery cushions – it was gorgeous and I would love the whole thing in my garden. The edging was made up of a succession of small twigs held together with wire. I have seen something similar in garden centres and it comes in a roll. It’s not massively expensive so I thought this was a good idea. The edging was then covered with hessian to complete the look. This style was very rustic and lovely, I just don’t know how practical the hessian will be!

RHS Malvern
The first edging design I liked – it suited the garden so much!

The next edging was a lot simpler, cheaper and more natural, however I only just noticed it! The edging was around one of the smaller gardens, however due to its position around the garden (it was put in mid lawn) and the amount of people viewing the garden I nearly missed it. This edging was simply a twig of willow arched into the ground and repeated to fence the area. I thought it was a god idea as you could still see the border through the fence and I could make it high enough to persuade my doggies to take a different route without blocking the border off to light etc! I also hoped if the willow rooted itself I might be able to get a living willow edge, however I am starting this a bit late in the year so I might have to create the living one next year!

Sorry not the best photo but I couldn't get any closer!
Sorry, not the best photo but I couldn’t get any closer!

The last one and the most labour intensive one was featured on the winning local school’s garden. As you can see from the photo below they did an excellent job of their garden! I loved the willow fence which looked like it was keeping the garden together. I did think about creating a lower one in my garden, but then I wondered if it would be a bit too elaborate?

An amazing willow fence!
An amazing willow fence!

I’d love to know what you all think to the ideas above? Have any of you tried to work with willow?

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11 thoughts on “A few ideas for the garden using willow

    • I know what you mean Pam. My mum has lots of willow trees that need sorting out as the high winds at the moment are damaging them so I was hoping to re-use/recycle. I think I am going to try a bit of a mixture, I will let you know how I get on! 🙂 Bless them! Mine seem to have a fascination with walking on them – it drives me crazy!

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      • I like the simple little arch border. Although it wouldn’t necessarily keep anything out, it marks the edges and is decorative. Simple always seems to have an element of elegance in my opinion. If you make an arch with the willow, that would be more ornate and complicated, so something simple for a border would not take away from that either. Very cool ideas.

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      • Thank you Tilly! I am looking forward to getting started though knowing me I will have bitten off more than I can chew! Yes I like the little arch as well! I think I just want it more to persuade my dogs that the border is a no go area, me telling them no doesn’t seem to work! 😦 I agree that simple does have an element of elegance! I will report back how I get in! Keep your fingers crossed for me! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Wow I love willow, even have a miniature willow tree that isn’t so miniature anymore. Thanks for the ideas!! I hope one day I can figure out how to make stuff, like a pretty fence or something.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, how is Switzerland today? They do grow fast willows don’t they! There is such a rustic charm about them I think! Not a problem, glad they inspired you. I’ll post all my findings and outcomes on here so would love to know what you think 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi! Yes willows are great for the natural, rustic, country farmhouse look. This week I have been out in the garden almost the whole week, weeding and cleaning and just soaking it all in. The sunshine especially. But it is starting to look like a garden once again, just working on a post with lots of pics of it as we speak! Can’t read to catch up reading your posts this weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like a lovely week! 😊 Cant wait to read your post on your garden and have a look at the pictures! I bet it looks lovely! I’ve got a couple of new posts for over the weekend, which I hope you enjoy! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Debra! Keep your fingers crossed for me – I think I will need it! You can’t beat natural materials can you, they fit in so well and complete the garden! Will keep the blog updated on the progress! 🙂 Thank you for following – it means a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

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