Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Willow harvest and the beginning of a new season

I finished harvesting a couple of weeks ago and I sorted the willow for different purposes.

The rods for drying for future weaving projects are sorted and bundled to be placed in the barn for drying over the next few months.

The large rods to be used for living willow projects - as the woven fence in the picture here and my various trees - were wrapped in black plastic and stored in the shade on the North side of the barn to prevent them from drying out and make sure they stay dormant. More to come soon about my workshops and the woven fence (also called a fedge).
Then, as I prepared for my workshops , I placed the bundles in buckets with their feet in water - still in the shade - Here are some of the Salix koriyanagi 'Rubykins', the rods up to 2.5 meters (8 feet) long, no branching and perfect for making the Harlequin tree.
As the majority of my willows were planted last spring, and most willow varieties don't grow the long, unbranched rods the first year, I had a big pile of branches that were not good for my above uses. I will play with it a bit to find use for some of it and maybe part of it will end up on a bonfire.
Spring is here and I am so pleased to see that the willow in the field is starting to show new growth. In a few weeks I will be posting photos from the field with beautiful colours. Even the very new and small shoots look quite different on the different varieties.          
The potted trees that i have at the front door started to leaf out a couple of weeks ago and by now they look like this. The wine red stems of Salix x acutifolia get a greyish-white bloom during their second year and after that they turn almost black. Very interesting and beautiful variety. It is great for living willow projects, but not very good for weaving as it is not very flexible.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.


  1. Salix - how beautiful your willows are! Congratulations on a successful workshop April 10th and best wishes for the next two. You are certainly turning gardeners on to the joys of willow.

  2. Thank you, Frances - just trying to do what you have done for years.

  3. I'm reading this backwards, as one does with a blog, but I have to ask a question you may have answered elsewhere.

    Do these rods have roots, or are they literally rods that you stick in the ground?

  4. Lisa and Robb
    I assume that your question is about the living willow? Yes, these are rods (live, but dormant) that you stick in the ground. Keep them moist and free of weeds and they will root and start to grow.

  5. Beautiful stuff. You are an artist of a different sort. I am going to look for willows near my place to use for living hedges. I’ve got nosey, pesky, interfering neighbors who I still am trying to win over. This may help. As Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


I love to hear from my readers - your comments are much appreciated.