Tuesday, 10 January 2017

How To Make A Living Willow Dome

how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
I had long since decided that what was desired in the garden was stuff as opposed to lawn. So when I drew the plan for the garden I planned for raised beds, a tandoor oven, pond, fire pit and pergola. I had also decided that a living willow house for Sebastian would be a welcome addition to the garden. You have to plant the willow switches in the winter when they are not actively growing so although I have been itching to get on with this project for many months now I had to wait. 

The willow arrived and we left the unwrapped willow outside to keep it cold and wet. Three days later it was Sunday, the day after Friendmas, so we had some extra hands to help us.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Before embarking on the creation I had spent a good amount of time watching videos on You Tube, (that is how we learn now, right), and reading tutorials. In all honesty the tutorials made me feel more daunted that anything but I kept this under wraps as Joe is always more hesitant than I with new things. Joe likes to know a subject inside out and I have a a bodging, I mean have a go attitude to all things, this is probably why he is a nuclear safety engineer and I would have destroyed the world by now if let on site. The whole thing was a lot simpler to create than any of the tutorials made it sound. So let's not get bogged down with measurements, so here is how we did it.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Nothing about this operation was precise. It started with me standing with a can of spray paint at arms length and turning around as I marked out a rough circle, kind of like I was a human compass. This was followed by another very rough guestimation on the location and size of the arch that would be used as an entrance. We cut a circle of weed suppressant fabric larger than the circle marked and 'tucked' it into the ground at the edges.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
We took the 6 thickest switches, we pushed 3 switches into the ground either side of where we had not so mathematically decided the location and size of the entrance. We then twisted them together to form an arch and secured with bakers twine. We then followed the circle with couplets or willow switches. Again we resorted to high brow maths and engineering techniques using the width of Joe's boot as a guide. We then crossed each one and secured with twine. We went all the way around and then we crossed them again placing the cross in between the lower row two crosses. This continued until we reached the top and then it was less about securing with twine and more about the weave.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
All done all that is left to do now is scatter some bark inside and wait for the willow to grow. Then it is a matter of weaving in and cutting back every year. I am thinking it might be quite cute to plant peas or climbing beans around it this spring and let them grow up and through the structure.
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
how to make a living willow dome  http://www.archieandtherug.com/
Thank you to the guys for helping and if you want to have a go at this yourself buy your willow now before Spring hits.


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