February and March, just before Spring has sprung into life is a perfect time of year to work with Living Willow to create structures that will soon put on growth as we move into Spring and continue growing throughout the Summer months. We only have a short time period for planting Willow, ideally, this is completed by the end of March. If nurtured properly the Living Willow structures will continue to grow for many years to come.
Our Living Willow Harlequin Tree Workshop is very relaxing, mindful and satisfying. We commence with weaving a small tree so that everyone learns the technique before then applying it to the larger Harlequin Tree. The selection of photos below is from a recent workshop at Birtley Woodland Art Space, our shared studio in Bramley, Guildford. The 3rd image is of a Living Willow Globe, a new workshop we have introduced this year and one I am excited to be delivering. The 4th image is of the Harlequin Trees I planted in the ground on the Birtley Estate this time last year, I will cut back the top growth in late March ready for the green growth that will appear in the Spring.
Willow Harlequin Tree
The Harlequin Tree is very easy to grow and can remain in the original planting pot or be transplanted into the ground or a larger pot once the root base has become established.
Make sure you do not let your Harlequin Tree dry out, you can even stand it in water and top up when needed.
A crown of leaves will grow from the top during the Spring, Summer and Autumn. You can shape the crown up until around August. In the Winter the tree will become dormant. You should cut back the top growth in March, the growing cycle will then begin again. Rub off the side buds as they swell and form leaves to stop them from growing further, this is not requisite merely a matter of choice if you do not want new growth to distract from the pattern. The woven Willow stems will slowly grow together over 10 years.
- Keep very well watered, especially on sunny breezy summer days
- Trim regularly – more trims gives a better shaped crown
- Pinch out new side shoots to retain plant shape
- Plant or position the container in any sunny or partially shaded spot. If after 3 months you wish to transfer you tree into the garden or larger pot, dig a hole slightly larger than the pot and transfer the plant. Backfill and firm in well.
- Alternatively, plant the tree in ornamental container containing a soil-based compost such as John Innes No. 3.
- Water in well and continue to water daily for the first 4 weeks after planting to keep the soil moist at all times. Willow is quite happy in moist soil so there is no danger of overwatering!