Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Long Planned but Finally Begun

It has been many years since I first discovered the "fedge" which is simply a hedge plant, generally willow, pruned and grafted to become a tightly woven fence.  Done correctly, each separate plant in the fedge joins so tightly to the others they become one large plant.  The stem of one can be cut and yet the top will continue to live, fed and watered by its siblings in the line.  I have longed to create such an amazing feature which combines art and nature.  Yet the time or place has never been quite right for such a complex undertaking.

Until WeeHavyn.

Like most of my projects, a fedge will serve several purposes at WeeHavyn.  First and foremost, it will define our west lawn in a way that is both natural and beautiful, complimenting our small cottage.  Second, the abundant trimmings produced whilst shaping and maintaining the fence will provide nutritious food for the rabbits and goats.  Willow is high in protein and minerals and is highly palatable to browsers.  Third, it will stabilize the steep slope of our lawn.  Finally, the fedge will provide many starts for anyone else who wishes to do this.  Willows are very determined growers.  One merely needs to take a small trimming and put it in moist soil for it to sprout and grow.  I love the idea of being able to share both my willow and my experiences.

For now, my embryonic fedge looks like nothing more than a curved row of straw held down by wire panels.  The starts barely rise above the straw and one must look very closely to see the tiny green buds swelling against the smooth, buff colored stems.  Soon the long slim leaves will uncurl and supple stems will stretch to the sun, waiting to be twined into whatever shape I can imagine for the fence. 

We should all be so flexible.........





4 comments:

  1. This looks great! Im so excited to see it develop, and the process of intertwining it.
    I'm sure it will take time :)
    thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thanks Lisa,

    I'm seeing more and more buds pop. I should be able to start twining next month and I'll write about the process. Right now I'm playing with what I want to use for tape. I'm considering thin strips of that self stick bandage.

    Sherry

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  3. I so want to do this on a berm we have in our back yard I have seen these done with osage orange as cow fencing because of the thorns this is not an option. However, with willow that will be awesome. When do you pull up the wire and why did you choose this over a straw mat type solution?
    Kerry

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  4. Hi Kerry,

    I probably will just cut the wire with bolt cutters once the fence is well established enough to compete with the grass and doesn't need so much water. There is a soaker hose underneath the weed cloth and straw. These need a LOT of moisture while they are getting established.
    I put the wire on because we are on such a steep slope than the wind tends to push everything down into the hedgerow below and we need to mow next to it while it is getting established. Also, my husband tends to weed-eat everything that isn't very well marked.... This particular wire was left over from another project. If that weren't the case, I probably would have used something lighter and easier to handle.

    Sherry

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What do YOU think?