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Thursday 8 March 2012

Spring Forwards

Whilst scoping our second Kettering Light Walk and looking for a place to plant some living willow  we came across The Green Patch Community Allotments run by Groundwork a wonderful growing resource in the heart of the community. We approached Lucy Darby, who said they had received a commemorative bench, and that a willow half bower would work perfectly with the bench adding some gentle shade. We had planned to plant the willows as the culmination of our next walk, but the walk had to be postponed and we had already collected the willow. To grow willow from unrooted cuttings or whips, the willow should be cut and planted after leaf fall and before leaf bud - usually during December, January and February. We decided it was best to go ahead with the planting.
Nigel helped us dig a channel for the whips
We began by setting in the uprights, pushing the longest sturdiest whips about 6 inches into the ground vertically to make the main structure. It took quite a lot of effort as the ground was still compacted and quite dry due to the lack of rain we have had in February.
Tying in the front of the arch. 
Once the diagonal whips were in position we began to weave them into shape. The interwoven diagonals are for strength to create an open lattice interlinked  feature, the tension of the willow should generally hold the structure together.
We then replaced the clumps of soil and turf, then tried out the Bower for size!
Winter Aconites seen on our walk
Getting ready for some more Guerilla Gardening
We were so glad to have been out in the fresh air planting that when we were next together in our studios we began preparing a new batch of seed bombs to take on our Finedon Light Walk. The clay had gone hard and was about to be thrown away when Carole salvaged the bags and reconstituted them in a bucket of water. It was still quite tough to excavate from the bucket but we had more than enough for our purposes! 
Clay and wild flower seeds
shaped with cookie cutters.

Carole has been popping back to The Green Patch 
at regular intervals to check on our willow's progress.
Nigel has been keeping The Bower well watered,
paving slabs have been placed under the bench and 
there is a mulch of bark chips around the whips.
 Vertical whips sprouting fresh growth  from the top
Diagonally planted whips sprouting along the 
full length giving a denser growth to the structure
We ordered our willow from here 
Willows Nursery Walgrave 
Northampton  NN6  9QA 

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