Saturday, November 17, 2012
The time for Christmas markets is here and I just participated in the first one at Vineland Estates Thursday night. It was a great event and I certainly recommend this women only shopping and wine event - so be sure to put a note in your calendar for next year.
Next week-end is the Christmas HandMade Market and this year the event will take place in two locations. I will be at Fielding Estate Winery.
In addition to my bird feeders, different styles of baskets, lanterns etc I will have many Christmas themed items such as angels, stars, cones, hearts, Christmas trees and more for you.
For more information about the event this coming week-end click here.
The Christmas show Artful Treasures at The Pumphouse in Niagara-On-The-Lake will be Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st.
On that same week-end The Rotary Club has their Holiday House Tour so come down to beautiful N-O-T-L for some Christmas inspiration and shopping at the Pumphouse.
For more information on this event click here.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012
Here are a few pointers that are often overlooked.
First of all it is ONLY the growth from the previous growing season that has colour. If you leave your willow shrub unpruned, you will end up with a large shrub with a few small, colourful tips during winter. Therefore – to really get a beautiful colour display you should coppice (cut down to the ground) the plants late winter/early spring as they will grow long shoots during one growing season and they will all have coloured bark. To make a real statement you could plant several plants of the same variety close together (about 30 cm/1foot apart). If you have a small garden and are worried that planting several willows will be too much for your other plants, you can repeat the coppicing (cutting down to the ground) in early summer. Supposedly (and I say that because I don’t have any personal experience/knowledge of this, but have read about it) the willow will not develop a large root if it has to use energy on new growth once or even twice annually.
In my opinion it is not only for winter colour that you plant willow in the garden. Many of the willows have very beautiful foliage, form and colour throughout the year. To illustrate this I have found a few photos:
I will start with Salix x ‘Flame’ as that one is often mentioned as a candidate for winter colour.By the time the leaves drop off, the bark has developed some colour that will intensify as the weather gets colder.
Salix x ‘Flame’ has beautifully coloured leaves in spring and early summer and the stem colours will vary from a light greenish/yellow/orange to a darker reddish brown. The two photos marked July 2012 are of the same plant, but photographed from the North and South sides of the plant. The more sun that the plant gets the darker the colour during the summer and these stems are darker on one side than on the other.
Another willow that has been planted in a lot of gardens during the last few years is the dabbled willow, Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’. A large shrub with pink shoots can look very beautiful, but as you can see on the following photo this willow can also be planted in your mixed bed, coppiced annually and it just looks lovely.
The variegated leaves are beautiful and the tip of the branches continue to be of an almost coppery colour during the summer. After the leaves have dropped the stems on this willow is a paler reddish brown.
One of my favourite willows (I have quite a few) is Salix koriyanagi ‘Rubykins’. It grows tall and slender one year rods when coppiced at the end of winter.
The very first leaves in spring are an incredible coral/peachy colour. Later the leaves are darker green, but the tips of the branches remain very colourful as you can see on the photo. Maybe that explains the name ‘Rubykins’? The last two photos show the light green colour of the stem. That is also the colour that the stems have during winter.
The last variety featured today is Salix x acutifolia
The winter colour of acutifolia is a very unusual and pretty dark purple that gets a bloom – a whitish waxy covering. If the plant is not coppiced the colour of the two year old branches will look almost as if they have been white washed. On the second photo you can see the red stems on the new growth and at the bottom of the photo you can see the two year old whitish stems (it is a braided Harlequin tree)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Wednesday morning, June 20th at 6 am Jennifer, Frances and I began our 13 hour drive from Strathroy, Ontario to Decorah, Iowa to participate in 4 days of willow classes.
The Willow Gathering was arranged by Jo Campbell-Amsler of Willow Ridge Basketry, Monticello, Iowa and Lee Zieke Lee of Willowglen Nursery, Decorah, Iowa and took place at the wonderful venue of Luther College, Decorah.
I was told that Decorah started as a Norwegian settlement as the landscape to a certain extent resembled their Scandinavian homeland - and still 2/3 of the population has Norwegian roots.
The college is built with a lot of reference to Scandinavian design and lifestyle.
The residences that we stayed at were wonderful 4 or 6 bedroom houses close to the Shirley Baker Commons where the classes were held.
The housing sections all had Norwegian names – we stayed at Trondheim.
The photos in this post are all from the classes that I participated in: 2 two day classes with Katherine Lewis of Dunbar Gardens Willow Baskets, Mount Vernon, WA
The beautiful hat (fashionista) was made by Donna Kallner of Donna Kallner Fiber Art and it is made with silk dyed with willow. Donna Kallner taught 2 two day classes in fiber art using willow for coiling and for dying silk.
The third teacher who taught at the gathering (there were other willow basket teachers at the gathering, but not teaching here) was Sandy Whalen, Milford, Michigan. Please see information about Sandy Whalen on Jo Campbell-Amsler’s web-site, under information about the Willow Gathering as I cannot find more detailed information about Sandy Whalen on-line.
I was happy to learn a couple of new techniques by Katherine Lewis.
Our first basket was a “rope coil” basket, the technique developed by the Danish basket maker Klaus Titze who calls them “rolling baskets”.
On the left is a photo of our almost finished baskets and my finished basket in the photo on the right. I really like the look of this technique and it can be applied to lots of different shapes – also larger outdoor work as for example a woven fence.
The technique for the magazine basket is also new for me. A scallom is cut at the end of the stakes before they are attached to the base which is woven on an oval ring. I like the end result – although I have to admit that I am a bit “knife shy” so the cutting process was somewhat slow for me.
The coracle in the photo at the right was launched in one of the ponds on campus and Poppy Hatinger – who has been involved in a couple of coracle projects – had a lovely presentation for us about the world of coracles and how to make them. Donna Kallner has a few blog postings about it here.
A wonderful trip – worth all the kilometers – spending days with other willow basket makers, teachers, students in beautiful surroundings, learning and making new friends and valuable contacts.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
As I didn’t make sure that I had photos of the finished baskets at the end of the class, I have asked the participating students for photos which I have put together in the above collage.
Here's a purse from another angle. Nice work.
Anne Mette taught 3 different types of baskets. The traditional stake and strand – round basket – was taught beginners, a rib style basket – a hen basket – was made by weavers with a little more experience and a fitched purse was for the very experienced willow basket weavers.
Although 6 of us made a traditional stake and strand basket, not two of them were identical which emphasizes some of the many possibilities this technique offers. Each student decided on their own size, shape, design of weave etc and everyone walked away with a beautiful basket – helped along by Anne Mette’s instructions.
The rib baskets were absolutely beautiful and the fitched purses very elegant and light. The skills and creativity that Anne Mette possesses were obvious and appreciated by all of us as we learned a lot over those 2 days.
Right now Anne Mette is in Stowe Vermont teaching willow basketry all week before she returns to Denmark. This was our first big event – it will not be the last.
Friday, May 25, 2012
The season for dormant willow cuttings and rods is over for this year at Lakeshore willows and the last shipments were sent out April 30th.
The beautiful winter colours on the cuttings are slowly fading on the willow that is drying in the barn for basketry.
Soon new colours will be visible in the field as the foliage on the plants start to show.
Is your garden too small for planting willows? It may be; but it is also very likely that it is not – you just need to know how to do it.
For ideas on how to ad year round colour from willows to your
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
I am amazed how often even professional garden writers point out that willow in general is invasive – meaning spreading by sending out suckers that soon will create a thicket of unruly shrubbery.
Personally I do not have any experience with suckering willows – but again, I only have thirty some different varieties of willow here on the farm. To try to get an idea of the extend of willow species with a suckering habit, I turned to one of my favorite books when it comes to more scientific information: “WILLOWS The Genus Salix” written by Christopher Newsholme where the following information can be found:
The genus Salix belongs to the plant family Salicaceae (poplars are the same family) and comprises of some 400 species of willows and more than 200 listed hybrids, popularly known as willows, sallows and osiers. It consists of mainly deciduous trees and shrubs bearing catkins.
The genus consists of three main subgenera:
- Subgenus Salix (Amerina), the true willows
- Subgenus Caprisalix (Vetrix), the osier and sallows
- Subgenus Chamaetia, dwarf, creeping, Arctic or mountain shrubs.
Confusion and uncertainty exists in the taxonomy of this genus and although acknowledging that no method of classification below subgeneric level is entirely satisfactory, Newsholme subdivides the genus Salix into groups and sections intended as a taxonomic guide indicating which species are generally considered to be closely related.
- Subgenus Salix is divided into 3 groups and a total of 11 sections
- Subgenus Caprisalix is divided into 4 groups and a total of 14 sections
- Subgenus Chamaetia is divided into 5 groups and a total of 7 sections.
Of all these sections only one: Subgenus Salix, group 2, section Longifoliae is mentioned to produce suckers from the roots and be thicket-forming. The species in the group are:
- S. exigua – Coyote Willow
- S. fluviatilis
- S. interior – Longleaf Willow or Sand Bar Willow
- S. melanopsis
- S. sessilifolia
- S. taxilolia
- hybrids between some of the above mentioned species
These species and hybrids are native to western North America. Most of them are described as beautiful shrubs or small trees – but if you don’t want a thicket of willows, don’t plant these in your garden.
Based on this scientific information I conclude that all other species and hybrids of willows will not sucker from the roots and you can safely plant them in your garden.
For further information I refer to Newsholme’s book Willows, The Genus Salix. As I do not grow any willows with root suckering habit here, I don’t have any images to show you.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
So spring is definitely here and the living willow workshops are on. With this weather I have added this Saturday March 24th to the schedule of workshops so if you cannot wait to garden (but your garden isn't ready yet) come on out and create a masterpiece for the garden.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Internationally known Danish willow artist and basket maker at Lakeshore Willows, Wainfleet, Ontario
If you are interested in participating in this class and want to know more, please drop me a line at lakeshorewillows at gmail - but you have to be quick as the class is filling up fast.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Kits of rods for both designs will also be available for purchase at the workshops in case you would like to make one or more after you return home.
For more information please look under the tab "Events" at the top of the page.
I am excited to be able to announce the visit here at Lakeshore Willows by the very accomplished and internationally known willow artist Anne Mette Hjørnholm from Denmark. Anne Mette will be teaching a basket class here on the week-end May 26-27 2012 - details to be announced.
This is one example of Anne Mette's beautiful work. If you could be interested in participating, here is a link to the gallery on her web-site. By clicking on an image you will open a related photo album.
Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.