Hazel vs Willow

This year I (Lorraine) began working with Willow to create Obelisk, plant supports of all sizes. In previous years the material of choice has been Hazel, I coppiced this together with my husband Paul who also uses Hazel for Hedgelaying & Hurdle Making. Paul (aka the Woodsman) is a professional Hedgelayer and manages the coppicing cycle at Felland Copse, Reigate. I will be writing much more about Hedgelaying and it’s benefits in future posts as we head into autumn and the winter months when this traditional skill is practised and Paul begins his commercial Hedgelaying work and participates at ploughing matches and local and national competitions! In October he starts work on his first hedge of the season and this is located on our doorstep? Being so close this will give us a great opportunity to pop back and forth to see the hedge at different stages in the growth cylce and share these updates with those who are interested!

CALL OUT FOR VOLUNTEERS: I was so pleased to be joined by several very helpful volunteers earlier this year to help me harvest both Hazel from Felland Copse and Willow from Priory Farm. If you are interested in helping out this November and/or in February then please do let me know, your reward will be to learn to make a willow craft or to take away a small bundle of Willow, whichever you prefer!

Thank you to Renee Canta aka @thegirlwhogardens, Niki Bolger @shemakes and my long standing friend Debbie Whittenbury and her dog Ronnie!

Hazel vs Willow

I must admit, I really enjoy working with Hazel as this material produces an extremely strong Obelisk and is also great for creating a sturdy and re-usable wreath base. Willow, however, is so much easier to harvest and there are so many different varieties and colours to choose from, it also grows very fast and can reach up to 12ft in just one year! I continue to learn more and more about the versatility of Willow and my new found love for learning the traditional skill of weaving! Willow is much easier on your hands than Hazel and in addition to the Willow I harvest locally I am now buying buff Willow to use for more intricate weaving work such as my Dragonfly, Heart, Flower, Bird Feeder, Fish making Workshop Experiences.


I will continue to use Hazel for making Christmas Wreaths, those I made for myself last year I have since stripped of all the green foliage and will redress again this year. Birch or Curly Willow is also a great material for dressing my Hazel wreath base before I add any fresh foliage. I know it’s probably far too early to mention the ‘C’ word but I have just booked Lloyd Hall in Outwood and published a Christmas Workshop page on my website, ready to take early bookings! I will add additional venue’s and dates in time but wanted to ensure I secure this lovely local venue a.s.a.p. before they become fully booked!

Obelisk Workshop Experiences

Some of you may already have joined my rustic Obelisk Workshop Experiences and made a mini-Obelisk and/or large Obelisk up to 7ft in height and managed to fit it into your car to take home and display proudly in your garden. Others may not have yet had the pleasure so I thought I would highlight the courses still available:

Willow Obelisk Workshop @ Priory Farm

Learn more and book here: Saturday 31st August

In this workshops you will have the choice of a 1 hr workshop to make a Mini Obelisk suitable for a pot (we do this on a table top) or a 2.5 hr workshop to make both a mini Obelisk and a larger Obelisk (up to 7ft in height).

Given the time of year we can create an open top plant support if preferred, these are suitable for tall flowering plants that need that extra support to stop them toppling over.

Willow Weaving & Woodland Lunch – The Salt Box @ Priory Farm

Learn more and book here: Tuesday 13th August

Spend a morning beneath the trees learning how to use natural materials and learn how to weave either a Mini-Obelisk or a Bird Feeder to take home for your garden.

Following the workshop, we’ll sit down at our shared dining table beneath the trees for a delicious 2-course feast, cooked over an open-fire and inspired by seasonal, local ingredients.

Obelisk & Mini-Wattle Hurdle Workshop @ Sussex Prairies

Learn more and book here: Sunday 11th August (only 1 ticket remaining)

Learn more and book here: Sunday 22nd September

We have combined two workshops into one so that you can choose to make and take home either/or both an Obelisk (plant support) and Mini-Wattle Hurdle for your garden!

Thank you for your interest in our growning business, we very much look forward to sharing further posts with you each month. We will continue to notify you of our new workshops and training course experiences plus additional collaborations once we are ready to announce these. If you have any feedback or something in mind that you would like to discuss please do feel free to make contact and let us know your thoughts!

Thank you, Lorraine & Paul Matthews


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