|Example of Willowcraft|
So many traditional country skills have been lost or are in danger of being lost to future generations. Willow craft is one of many. Mike Groom and John Moore, the gardeners at St Cuthman’s , are committed to caring for the 25 acre site in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Part of their stewardship includes using traditional skills such as willow craft to make bean teepees and plant supports, using local willow, including some from our own grounds.
On 19th May Mike and John led a ‘Willow Craft Workshop’ for a small group of people who were keen to learn these useful gardening skills. By the end of the Workshop everyone had managed to make at least one bean teepee, and one or two had also completed a plant support. The participants worked hard, and under the patient and enthusiastic guidance of Mike and John had an enjoyable and productive day. When I visited the group in the early afternoon there was an air of quiet concentration and comments received at the end of the day, reflected some of the joy that can be found in making things.
As well as serving a practical purpose in supporting growing vegetables and flowers, the willow structures are like living pieces of sculpture. There are a number of examples in our grounds and vegetable plot. Participants were keen to have a follow up session in the winter, exploring developing living willow structures. We were pleased to have made a small contribution to sharing a useful skill and maintaining a valuable tradition.