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Willow Structures and Fedges

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Create Magic in Your Garden with Living Willow Structures

Salix is an incredible genus with a wide variety of colourful stems that are both strong and pliable. It also has an almost magical ability to quickly form roots from any branch that is cut, and stuck into the ground. These qualities make willow an incomparable natural building material with which to create living willow structures.

Multi-Season Interest 

Garden design elements that last throughout the year have big impact; and living structures have an enormous amount to offer the creative gardener in this regard:

  • Early Blooms - Imagine a small dome in the middle of the garden, with an unexpected sweet halo of pink catkins in the early spring! With their beautiful buds and flowers, willows herald spring in a way that few other species do. (Check out Giant Korso Willow – it has large showy catkins that emerge a beautiful pink!)

     

  • Pretty spring foliage - The unfurling of willow leaves has already begun when the rest of the garden starts to awaken in the spring. Living Structures make a beautiful backdrop for other perennials, vines and grasses as they come to life.

     

  • Wonderful Summer Movement - Willow structures are dense with  blue green to dark green leaves, with beautiful contrasting undersides. Breezes cause the leaves to flash with sage and silver (especially in varieties such as Bowhayes Willow that has 6” - 8” long leaves) creating a wonderful display of movement throughout the summer and fall.

     

  • Wildlife Habitat - Living structures provide year-round habitat to birds; and areas of safe summer and fall grazing to small mammals.

     

  • Winter Enchantment – Snow-covered willow branches adorned with fairy lights in the winter, add enchantment to the hibernal landscape.
     
  • Harmonious Spaces – There is nothing quite like natural willow branch structures for both play and respite. They are places of the soul, where we can rest and invent, converse and meditate. We can bring some balance into our lives by simply gazing up at the sun dappled summer leaves, or the stars in the winter sky.

CHECK OUT ANOTHER TWO GREAT WILLOWS TO BUILD WITH!

Living Structure and Fedge Willows Catalogue

living willow2 - Willow Structures and Fedges
fedge 2 - Willow Structures and Fedges

Fedge = Hedge + Fence

Take advantage of willow's rapid growth, and dense foliage to quickly, beautifully and inexpensively grow fedges and screens. With an assortment of willow cane (rod) lengths you can create a variety of fedges that define space, create enclosures, or establish privacy. Tie and weave together lattice or open basket weave patterned fedges, and they will soon be filled in with new growth. Keep your fedges as trim, or leafy as you want! 

Fedge ideas for your garden:

  • Enclose outdoor spaces to make wonderful architectural rooms, and protect and beautify flower and vegetable gardens;
  • Edge winding paths to lend drama to a walkway, and support for vines and ramblers;
  • Create layers of interest in the landscape through a series of fedges, leading to a dome, arbour, or willow covered seating area; or
  • Produce a sense of mystery and intrigue through partially obstructing views; or focal points, by framing others.
livig willow arch 1024x746 - Willow Structures and Fedges
fedge 1 - Willow Structures and Fedges

Domes, Tunnels, Obelisks and Silly Animals

Living willow structures bring charm and whimsy to the garden, are amazing play spaces for kids and adults alike, add architectural interest, and support for vines and climbers. They can be destinations, pathways, or backdrops in the garden – providing respite from the manufactured spaces we often inhabit, and bringing magic into our time in the garden.

 

There are endless DIY living willow projects that you can do with your kidsBuilding a dome together is a great project that will enable everyone to get a feel for the materials and process, before tackling a more advanced project like tunnels and animals.

Play Space Living Willow Dome 1024x766 - Willow Structures and Fedges
Play Space Living Willow kids 1 e1648050984505 - Willow Structures and Fedges

Want to Build a Dome with Your Kids?

gator living willow structure - Willow Structures and Fedges

The Basics of Building with Living Willow

Be sure to use rods that are extra long so that they can be pushed into the ground a good 6” - 8”; that are pliable enough to be arched in to a structure; and sturdy enough to work as supports. Our catalogue of cultivars with especially robust rods are perfect for the job.

  1. Plan your basic structure on paper, and plot it out in the garden with stakes and strong twine. This does not have to be fancy - just a basic design to scale, with dimensions.

  2. You will need clean, sharp pruning shears to cut your rods. You can take softwood cuttings in early summer, or hardwood cuttings in winter, which will root quickly once in the ground.

  3. Begin by using your sturdiest rods as upright supports at the ends of fedges, or openings in your structures. Push them deeply enough into the ground to feel secure.

  4. Drive stakes in, or place rocks to mark 1 foot intervals along the perimeter. Lay down landscape fabric inside of structure perimeter stakes, if you want the interior to be grass free. (A good idea for those of us in tick land.)

  5. Use your next sturdiest rods, pushed diagonally into the ground at the marked 1 foot intervals. (When this is done, fill in the spaces between these intervals with finer rods. If you are working on a fedge you may want to leave these finer rods out, so that your lattice pattern shows more clearly.)

  6. Add vertical support rods every 4 or 5 feet.

  7. Once you have all of your diagonal and vertical supports in to the ground, you can tie the rods together, where they intersect one another.

  8. For fedges: add a willow top rail, weave ends into the end support rods and the top rail, and tie together.
  9. For domes, animals and tunnels: either weave rod ends over the dome, or collect ends and tie-off like a pony-tail with strong twine.

  10. Make sure you water, water, water until the willow rods establish good roots (a few weeks).

It will take a year or so for the willow to leaf out, but it’s a wonderful year of transformation watching the bare rods leaf out, and the structure begin to fill in. Most importantly, have fun building, and playing and relaxing in your creations.

southampton001 - Willow Structures and Fedges
Gale Willow structure frame e1647999635710 - Willow Structures and Fedges

11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden

Spiraea japonica shirobana - 11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden
Spiraea japonica ‘Shirobana’ - Japanese Meadowsweet blossoms

Spiraea for Elegance and Drama in your Garden

Remember those elegant white blossomed shrubs in your family garden? The ones with cascades of branches profuse with clusters of tiny flowers? Those dramatic creatures were one of two traditional Spiraea: Garland Spirea (Spiraea x arguta), or Bridal Wreath (Spiraea x vanhouttei). These stately (8ft tall with a 10 ft spread) shrubs can be seen in their full splendour in established gardens across Canada. In contemporary gardens they are likely to be the anchors in mixed hedges, or presented in mass plantings, to stunning affect.

New culitvars (see our Drama Queens below) with beautiful coloured foliage, and dwarf sizes have joined the traditional Spiraeas in the modern garden. Spiraea is now genus with an impressive breadth of garden design possibilities. Consequently, you’ll see it used elegantly in mixed or shrub borders, in rock gardens, as hedging, or as single specimens. Mass planting a single variety, or mixing a number of Spiraea will have a dramatic impact in the garden. Similarly, you can create great beauty in your garden, by mixing Spiraea with other showy ornamental shrubs. 

Oh Spirea, er, Spiraea...

We all call them “Spirea”. Well, except for our Master Horticulturist at Bambooplants.ca…because, he knows better. But, that’s what happens when a plant’s common name is so close to its Latin name – the two terms become conflated in day-to-day usage.

Drama Queens

Breeders have been creating a versatile range of cultivars with stronger flower colour, and leaf colour variation.
Spiraea Goldflame Foliage - 11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden
Showy spring foliage of Spiraea x bumalda ‘Goldflame’
Spiraea bumalda Flaming mound - 11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden
Red-tinged shoots of Spiraea x bumalda ‘Flaming mound’

Some of our favourite showy dwarf cultivars (3ft and under) are:

Combo Packages - Mix and Match for Maximum Impact

Spiraea and other showy ornamental shrubs for striking design results. 

Trending Spiraea Combo​

This selection of Spirea almost makes us giddy! Expect incredible flower coverage in clusters and cones. Vibrant yellow gold to green foliage, with very attractive red and purple new shoots. It’s a smashing group of six of the most stunning Spirea varieties chosen to contrast and compliment one another. Includes a number of our Drama Queens.

As the name suggests this combo is stress-free choice for your garden. Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’ combines with Dutzia, Weigela, and Potentilla to create a sophisticated colour palette of purple, green, gold and white. Mass several combos for a stunning affect, or use one in a small garden to great affect.

The Long Run 20 M Hedge Combo

Multicolour Hedges, long a trend in Europe, have begun to catch on in Canada. This combo will create great visual interest along pathways; and a perfect living fence.  Spiraea x vanhouttei Vanhouttei Spiraea anchors this 20 plant Long Run hedge combo*

* Varieties included dependent on availability.

Red Letter Shurbs Combo

Bring a blend of the deepest reds, and the lightest pinks to your garden. Soft large blossoms and clusters of small tight double flowers create a flamboyant contrast. We have used Spiraea japonica ‘Shirobana’ – Shirobana Spiraea with its unique pink and white flowers as one of four remarkable long flowering shrubs in this combo. (4 shrubs in combo.*)

Hardy Garden Heroes
  • Native to northern temperate zones of Eurasia and North America
  • Most are hardy to Zones 4 and 3
  • Resilient, low-maintenance, easy to grow
  • Disease resistant
  • Thrives in almost any location - blooms more in full sun
  • Prune during blooming season for more prodigious blooms

Spiraea is deciduous and it looks very different in the winter compared to the summer. In the winter, well, quite frankly, it looks dead. So, if you come across it in the garden, don't be tempted to dig it up - the spring and summer flowers are going to be amazing!

Spiraea japonica
‘Anthony Waterer’

This Red Spirea variety is a low growing, spreading shrub, with very attractive clusters of crimson, flat-topped flowers. Grows to 3 ft tall and 4 ft wide.

Spiraea japonica Anthony Waterer new shoots - 11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden
Red spring shoots
Spiraea japonica Anthony Waterer Hedge - 11 Must Have Spirea Shrubs – Bring Dramatic Impact to the Garden
Gorgeous hedge of Spirea Anthony Waterer

Time to Plan for Spring and Summer Planting

Get Ready to Plant!

There is nothing like planning your gardens to make it through the winter and early spring! While the weather has been decidedly unusual this past winter, all indications are that we can expect to start spring planting in May in most regions of Canada. If your favourite plants aren't yet available, contact us and we will let your know when we will be shipping. (Note: In 2019 we will begin shipping April 22, so get your orders in early. Of course, not all plants are ready for April shipping, but many are.)

Time to Order Plants for Autumn Planting

Order Today!

The air's just turned crisp in South Eastern Ontario, and its time to order plants for autumn planting. We've finally been getting some rain. This is great news, as most of us didn't plant much this year due to the dry weather conditions. It's the perfect time to plant our 20 beautiful flowering shrubs in our Multicolour 20m Hedge package. Our gorgeous 12m Multicolour Hedge brings together a selection of Salix and Physocarpus opulifolius shrubs. You will love the Chocolate & Lemon Hedge (10m) - a dramatic combo of Purple and Gold leaf Ninebark shrubs. And while the coming of winter is on your mind, look into the special value and winter flair offered by our fruit and berry bushes.

 

Ornamental Hedge Shrubs - Your best Combo Packages & 10 Plant Value Packs

mixed ornament hedge 01 300x156 - Ornamental Hedge Shrubs - Your best Combo Packages & 10 Plant Value Packs BambooPlants.ca – your online Canadian mail order catalogue for ornamental hedge shrubs.

We love the French tradition of combining gorgeous ornamental hedge shrubs to create flowering hedges. We’ve combined a variety of 20 beautiful flowering shrubs in our Multicolour 20m Hedge package. Our gorgeous 12m Multicolour Hedge brings together a selection of Salix and Physocarpus opulifolius shrubs. You will love the Chocolate & Lemon Hedge (10m) - a dramatic combo of Purple and Gold leaf Ninebark shrubs.

Of course, you can also design your own mixed shrub hedges, very inexpensively with any of our many selections of Lots of 10 Econoplants.

mixed flowering shrub hedge 2 1 300x191 - Ornamental Hedge Shrubs - Your best Combo Packages & 10 Plant Value Packs

Subtle contrasts in shrub colour and habit, and natural shapes have great impact in the garden

Design ornamental hedges for maximum colour and texture impact; whether you like high contrast or more subtle changes in flower colour and shape.

If your yard is on the wild side and you have the space, plant a wide "hedgerow" to create a micro-habitat for animals. Once the hedges are established, you can add some climbing plants to increase diversity in the habitat.

In our next posts we will explore using bamboo for privacy screens, mixing shrubs ornamental grasses for contemporary hedges, and getting ready for fall planting...