From Wales To The Tropics, Coppice

Bundles of newly coppiced Salix viminalis – willow stems harvested during late autumn and winter each year, to create living willow structures and woven items. Photograph: Compulsory Credit: GAP Photos/Nicola Stocken

In the tropics we use coppice to make berms that support new growth and channel water, while in Wales they do other practical things; thanks to the Guardian‘s  Alys Fowler (long time no see) for pointing the latter out to us:

Coppicing is great for your garden – and gives you lots of material to play with willow stems

Apart from the enjoyment of making household items out of stems, coppicing trees and shrubs has aesthetic and eco benefits for gardens

Back in late spring when we got the keys to our new house in Wales, I quickly coppiced a huge hazel to let some light into the back of the house. The largest, straightest poles I used for beans. I was then left with a lot of branching material too thick for pea sticks or bending into plant supports. More to the point, I had no plants other than the beans to support because the garden was all overgrown lawn.

So I started to look at this material anew: perhaps in all these branches there were hooks to be had. Inspired by designer-maker Geoffrey Fisher, I got to work with some long-arm pruners and made myself some branch hooks for the colanders in the kitchen; and thanks to my love of a hardware catalogue, I learned there is such a thing as a double-ended screw, so I made some simpler hooks for clothing in the bedroom. Then, with the thinner, straighter material, I made poles for cafe curtains.

I won’t be saving the planet with my hooks and poles alone, but this gentle diversion of chopping and carving my way to something I might have instantly bought has been a useful lesson in the pleasure to be had from creatively finding your own way.

Read the whole article here.

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