I spent a lovely day at the National Botanic Garden of Wales making structures for the garden. I have been on a course before with the tutor Mel Bastier who is a co-founder of Out to Learn Willow. Last time I went we worked with living willow and started off by making a dome, pushing the willow in to the ground which would later grow. We wove through the uprights making a solid structure which would fill out come the spring when the growing season started. Next we made a tunnel, which was a far quicker affair as we almost knew what we were doing at this stage. Having mastered the living willow we moved on to make some decorative pieces which I still have up. They were meant to be Christmas decorations but I couldn’t bear to take them down! Visitors to 94 High street may recognise the heart which is on the wall at the top of the stairs.
Now with a taste for the willow weaving I joined one of the day courses at the Botanic Gardens with Mel to make some garden support structures. This time it was with dried willow so the pieces would stay as they are, be portable and not sprout and ‘hedge up’. Luckily some of the knowledge I gained in my first course remained in my head, so I was able to make 3 pieces which will grace the gardens at Pen Y Garn. First we made an obelisk which I will either grow sweet peas up or possibly the jasmine in the terraced border. Not quite decided on that yet. Next I made the trelise which I may just have to buy a new clematis for, or I may put at 94 for the new jasmine to climb up. Finally the plant support which will either be used for the anemones or possibly just to look at in its own right. just too many decisions!
I totally enjoyed both courses and may well book on to one of the willow trug making courses in May. Mel is a lovely and very patient tutor so if you fancy joining one of these course while stay at either Pen Y Garn or 94 High Street I can thoroughly recommend them. A lovely day and something rather beautiful to show at the end. As well as the courses at the Botanic Gardens, Mel runs other courses which are listed on her website Out to Learn Willow In fact as the Botanic Gardens is only a very short distance from both properties you can check out what else they offer in courses and events to enhance your stay with us