Friday, 29 October 2010

Bend it, shape it, anyway you want it...

Common Hazel (Corylus avellana) is a pain in the derrière and that's a fact. It grows everywhere, the nuts sprout in places I cannot believe and it's seedlings are hard to pull. I even find it making an appearance popping up between the stone from which the tobacco drying barn was constructed.

Well alright, perhaps I'm being unfair. Sure enough it's successful at getting established just about anywhere, but in reality it's a vital part of a woodland habitat, the nut is frequently a confectioner's first ingredient of choice and importantly for me, it's young branches are very flexible.



I've taken time out over the last couple of days cutting lengths of both hazel and alder (which grows in abundance along the river bank), as with each being so malleable they make the ideal material to form plant supports.

I literally just take eight similar sized branches, sharpen the thickest ends and push them into the ground to form a circle. Each stem is then folded back over each other and secured with pieces of jute string which looks much more rustic than synthetic fibres. I then weave a couple of rows of 'whippy' branches around the cage, again tying in with string.



Above, the support nearest is not quite finished as the remaining side shoots just need to be folded and woven in to complete the structure.

When finished, I gently prise the cage out of the ground - it holds it shape - and that's it, done.
Stored somewhere dry this winter they'll firm up, and then, next spring I'll put them out into position early so that the plants grow up and through them easily.

28 comments:

  1. Very cool, Rob, and great idea. Wish I had your talent! Will be anxious to see them come spring ... am sure they will be awesome :)

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  2. Fabulous Rob! I too look forward to seeing how you use them come spring. They are beautiful! ;>)

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  3. They look cool! They have got a great look to them.....Julian

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  4. Hazels were also used extensively for coppices in the old days- good for renewable firewood (or plant supports!).

    Now I know what to do with all the native filberts that grow around here. Great idea!

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  5. these look very chic. i think they are going to be gorgeous with plants/vines growing through them.

    ~janet

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  6. Wish crape myrtle stems were flexible. Would copy you.

    Was in shock in Lowe's this summer at their price for bamboo sticks.

    Free along the railroad track.....

    Have a great weekend.

    Garden & Be well, XO Tara

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  7. Rob that's a great idea! Beautiful and rustic. Now I have something to do with all of the alder that grows along all of the wet places..

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  8. lots of work and a wonderfuñ result... and the views beyond are so beautiful!!!!
    cariños

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  9. Oh they are beautiful, I would love to have them in my gardens. I'll just hop, skip amd jump on over.

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  10. I've done this in my garden - very satisfying work - and a great song by the way.

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  11. What a good idea, my brain would never have thought of that:-) I will be making supports when I get back next year! Diane

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  12. They look so natural among the plants. I've used willow, and made fences from it which was very enjoyable!

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  13. Wish I hard your hazel problem. We have hickory and ash seedlings everywhere. Impossible to pull up, and not useful for weaving. Oh, I should stop complaining and count my blessings.

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  14. These are wonderful,Rob. Wish I had your Hazel problem;-) My problem is acorns, which are from the oak trees...literally everywhere in my yard. I don't think there's a spot in the front, back or sides of my house that does not have several inches thick with the things! It's gonna take a shop-vac (or stronger) to get them off the ground. In the spring the seedlings are nearly impossible to pull out. But the oak trees are lovely so I have to take the bad with the good, as you are doing. I'm sure your plant supports would sell like hot-cakes in the right market! Glad you are able to put the branches to good use!

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  15. Great idea -- looks great and has a purpose.

    Confirmed -- we are going to Paris 01-09 April and then 09-17 in Aix. Wish we could have added Dordogne on this trip.

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  16. We all have our plants that pop up all over the place. Here we have willow and grape vine that makes the most great bending projects. Fences, arbors and you name it.

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  17. Great idea. A good use for a pesty plant. They look great too.

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  18. Nature always provides, doesn't it? My Opa would do things like that. I can't wait to see what you will use them for this spring.

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  19. I'm impressed Rob - great idea! I haven't got any hazel or alder, but I might give it a go with some willow .......now see what you've started! :)

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  20. Hi Rob!

    I love your pics from the market! Makes me want to take a trip to the south, were people and veggies look so different and beautiful:-)

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  21. Now I know the trick. Weave it green and soft and then let it harden.
    Kerry Hand
    www.thefieldofgold.blogspot.com

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  22. What fabulous structures Rob and how handy to have access to the raw materials. Now humming shades of Amen Corner :)
    P.S. Word verification is furkell which sounds as if it could be a plant support.

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  23. A great idea and - of course - the photos are wonderful. These will be fabulous this next spring!

    Vicki

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  24. I love these! The Cloisters in New York utilizes the same types of twig structures throughout their very formal and traditional gardens. These add whimsy and natural to what would otherwise by stiff.

    Thanks for the treat,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  25. I love your plant supports! I'll have to see if we have any branches around here that would work. I have a few trellises a neighbor made before he got into sculpting with saws. One of these days, I hope to do a post on him and his work. Maybe he'll have some twigs that will work.

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  26. i loved your plant support...thanks for sharing

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