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.