We saw a segment on Gardening Australia earlier this year about using twigs and branches from trees to build wicker style garden beds. Sean never forgot it and so he persuaded me we should build some. The basic idea is to take still green twigs and thin branches from trees and weave them around vertical garden stakes or other firm sticks. As you stack the woven branches on top of each other, you end up with a wall. It’s an ancient technique so you feel as if you’re doing something with history behind it.
Here’s how one of them looked once filled with dirt (actually filled with layers of wet newspaper, straw, blood and bone, compost and soil in the style of No Dig Garden beds).
You can see in this photo too some hessian poking out. We lined the inside of the beds with hessian to help with the problem of weeds and grass poking through. And yes, for the observant among you, the bed does cross a concrete path. that’s ok. The plants we’ve put there are very shallow rooted.
The twigs we wove around garden stakes to form the edging were from a large tree in the front yard – we (ok, Sean) cut loads of the green twigs in different lengths and we passed a pleasant afternoon teaching ourselves how to build them.
It wasn’t that hard in the end but I did think next time I’d put more stakes in and try to make the sides taller but as rustic style beds, designed to have herbs close to the house, they work well enough.
We got a nice bit of rain the day after and I thought everything settled in well. I felt very pleased with our efforts.
The lavender will be both useful and pretty.
The oregano is so lush and vibrant. I hope it stays that way.
Elsewhere in the beds we’ve planted chives, dill, parsley, thyme and warrigal greens. It’ll be wonderful!
If you’ve got a tree that sends out loads of lovely bendy shoots, I highly recommend this as a way to make use of them and build something that won’t cost you the earth.
Useful tutorial here.