Sunday, May 27, 2012

Willow Arches

Structures, Tee-pees and arches are awesome in the garden - bamboo ones, steel ones or ones made out of sticks - whatever, they always look great covered in plants!

Last year I grew sweet peas on bamboo tee pees and loved the structure they gave to the veggie garden  - not to mention the wonderful fragrance they impart into the atmosphere and beautiful flowers! (You might remember this post).

This year I'm moving on from sweet pea-tee pees to arches, inspired by living willow arches and informal cottage style structures that are haphazard looking but kinda romantic looking...

Internet trawling came up with these images for inspiration:





 And this is what I managed on a Sunday afternoon:


I started with a pile of willow prunings and my tomato stakes and  in a few hours had a nifty little arch! 

After collecting the canes from a nearby tree growing in a lane way, I spaced out and hammered in the stakes, bent the arches for the top, tied them off to the stakes and then wove the canes through for support. 

And voilĂ ! A perfect support for growing this year's sweet peas and a perfect protected, shady spot to read a book and enjoy the garden from!

One word of warning should you use willow canes as the vertical supports (as in the inspiration images) be warned that they have a very high striking rate and in not too long you could end up with a whopping great willow tree in the yard!  

What do you think of garden structures? Have you had a go at making any yourself?



21 comments:

  1. GORGEOUS I love it! I've always wanted willow arches of my own but I'm hopeless at finding and cutting or knowing how to prune! willow trees...and more hopeless at handy artwork! I admire yours. Wistful sigh...

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    1. Come and pinch some willow branches from near my place! There are heaps!!! But if you want a living arch, spring will be the best time to do it. I'LL HELP YOU!

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  2. I love archways and tall structures. As for sweet peas - I think this year I may have overdone it. If they all grow well they will look lovely but will I be able to keep up to the dead heading?

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    1. Oh I can't wait to see all your sweet peas over our winter!!! We always start out with the best dead heading intentions don't we? I know I quickly loose interest after a while and just pick pretty bunches for the house!

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  3. I really love this Phoebe, very creative and such a beautiful organic shape! Great work :)

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    1. Thanks Jane! It certainly was fun to build!

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  4. I planted out some sweet pea seeds and nothing came up - we are right on the verge of where they will grow - I am hoping to be lucky this year - I just love the smell. I had an arch for my passionfruit, and then the mandevilla climbed over it as well - well you know the end of the story - it collapsed under the weight!

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    1. I love them too, aren't they divine! Sometimes sweet peas take ages to come up! I find they germinate better if the seeds are soaked before planting for 24-48 hours. Iv'e heard that soaking in water with epsom salts also aids in germination for legumes... Can't remember what the ratio is though.

      Yes I always wonder about the strength of garden arches! Sounds like mandevilles are arch enemies!

      Good luck with your sweet peas this year!

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  5. The top two are just stunning! Now you got me thinking of where I can build one in my garden.

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    1. What about a permanent chook dome?! Or perhaps a beautiful shady seating nook? Make sure you post it if you build one!

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  6. Oh dear, yet another wonderful creation I'd love to add to my tiny little garden. Yours is beautiful Phoebe, I can't wait to see it covered with the stunning soft colours of the sweetpeas.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! I'm hoping that the sweet peas will hide the ugly stakes. I can't wait for it all to grow!

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  7. How cool is that! A neighbor of mine has a giant arbor that was meticulously woven out of grapevines. I would love to have something like that in my garden. Yours looks great!

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    1. Oh that sounds awesome Prairie Cat! Grape vines are so gnarly and tough, I imagine it would work really well! It looks like you have plenty of room for one!

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  8. What a great idea - and yes creating more thoughts here too. We do have clumping bamboo growing, so I'm thinking a bamboo cane teepee would work too. Thanks for the inspiration Phoebe! cheers Wendy

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    1. OH Yes Wendy! Give it a go! Make sure you post pictures, I'd love to see what you end up making.

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  9. Ooh I adore the living willow arches... I really need to go hunting for some willow to cut. We have loads of space to grow a willow arch or teepee, but not sure I should be cutting from our local park???

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    1. Oohh yeah, not too sure about picking from a local park... I'm sure that if it's a council park or owned by Parks Vic or DSE it's illegal - unless you have permission from a ranger of course!
      I'm sure there will be some trees along a creek near you?

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  10. What a great way to spend the afternoon, just LOVE your creation its going to look fantastic with the sweet peas growing up and over!!! I wonder how many fellow bloggers will be out looking for willow canes to make their own?
    We have willows growing close to our creek...........yes i could start one !!
    A bit late to plant sweet peas(i think) but i could plant beans or peas up it.
    I have started a new project,we have a lot of local stone and I'm building a Cairn with it, its a bit like a jigsaw laying all the stones and slow going ..........
    When i'm finished i will do a post on its development.

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  11. Where do you source willow from?
    Is it literally a matter of scavenging?!

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  12. oooh, I am so jealous of your new arch!

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Thanks so much for commenting, I love reading what you have to share!

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