Wonderful willow!Comments Off on Wonderful willow!
We LOVE willow – in fact I am looking out of my office window right now at a living willow structure that I planted last year – it has has completely transformed my small urban garden into a green paradise! So here is a little guest blog from Hannah at Free Range Learning to remind us just why willow is so wonderful.
1. It loves to grow! Willow takes root very easy; sometime even broken branches or off-cuts lying on the ground will take root and form a new tree. It’s claimed that every weeping willow in Britain is descended from a single twig planted in Twickenham by Alexander Pope, who pinched it from a basket of figs sent from Spain to his next door neighbour.
2. It protect river banks. Willow is often used to prevent soil erosion on banks as the intertwining roots hold the structure of the soil together.
3. It’s flexible. Willow is so strong and bendy that it can be transformed into a huge range of useful items, from fishing traps and baskets to coracles and even coffins.
4. It gave us aspirin. Aspirin is made from a synthetic form of salisin which was originally derived from willow bark.
5. Bees love it. Willow is an important early source of pollen for bees emerging from their colonies in the spring.
6. It cleans our water. Like reed beds, willow can be used to treat and filter waste water.
7. It’s great for wildlife. Willow is second only to the oak as a home for a vast number of invertebrates, birds, small mammals and fungi.
8. It’s fast growing. Willow can grow up to 10 feet in a year, making it perfect for creating beautiful garden structures without a long wait!
9. It’s beautiful. There are around 400 species of willow with colours ranging from bright green and deep brown to violet, crimson and orange.
10. It makes incredible living structures. Fancy building a simple willow arch or fence? How about a tunnel, a den or an incredible outdoor classroom? You can do all this with willow – keep an eye out for more wonderful willow workshops with us in the future.