It’s been an intense couple of weeks. Driving to Vermont to get willow cuttings from Vermont Willow Nursery, I met Michael Dodge, the owner, and his wife Sonia. I stuffed the car with willows and I have been planting my stash ever since. The weather has been as intense as my feelings about being out in it. From damp cold which included hail, sleet and snow to a high yesterday of 83 degrees.
Micheal has over 155 varieties willow and it was very exciting to see what he is growing. Up til now, I thought of willows as those large weeping trees and scruffy shrubs that we see everywhere. I was floored to see the many colored stems and pussy willows available, including a pink pussy willow called S. Chaenomeloides ‘MT. Aso’ Michael is also building a collection of dwarf willows which looks promising for gardeners with less space. One of my favorite small willows which I saw on his website is called Salix Candida. I got cuttings and have planted it in my Moon Garden for its interesting grey leaves.
I recently got chickens and had the idea to make the “girls” a place to dive into if a hawk was circling above. Where the coop is very exposed and windy and the living willow structures provide a covered area. I had a lot of fun making the hoops with the girls inspecting the work at each stage and bugging me for the worms I was exposing when digging the trenches. I made 4 tunnels in the shape of a circle. Already the willow rods are pushing out buds and by midsummer the tunnels will look like small hedges from above.
I also bought enough tall rods to make plant supports for my vegetable garden. This is just the beginning of my exploration into growing and making willow structures. I am already planning next year’s projects and am really glad to be involved with growing this beautiful and renewable plant that has so many uses. Check out Michael’s website: