I have a small obsession with baskets, possibly like many of you.
Not only are they so naturally beautiful, but oh so versatile.
My obsession has filled ever free shelf in the house and now has leaked out all over my garden.
Currently my entire front yard is now essentially a garden in a basket and I couldn’t be more delighted.
It all started two years ago when a little baby
was crawling and learning to pull himself up.
We harvested the willows by our River and the first fence was carefully woven between the porch and the garden. It stopped him from going in the garden and the garden from tumbling all over the porch with his adventures.. it also seemed to help with teething, who knew?
A few years back I wrote about it and called it good. However the garden grew and grew and I don’t mean horizontally. You see, every year I mulch like crazy with the leaves my neighbor rakes from his backyard. It is kind of miraculous to garden in the dusty desert and scrap back the mulch in high July to find a totally un-watered zone moist to the touch.
Mulch works wonders for me and my planties, but because it breaks down SOOO slowly with so little moisture around, my garden is getting taller! When I mulch, it just tumbles into the path ways and now with an almost three year old running amuck and chickens in the mix, things have gotten plain messy!! So more willow fences it had to be.
These fences are truly a labor of love, as this is NOT England or some lush land full of coppiced Hazelwoods for the picking. But willow we do have along our precious rivers and harvest I did. I must admit I felt a little weird at first, I mean who owns the rivers and are folks are territorial about the willows as they are about the water around here?
As I harvested with my son under foot, I felt a little weird, as if I was stealing, for the willows are in fact precious to me. So I got permission to harvest from a friends land and as we were cutting the Mayordomo came by, a gruff seeming fellow and started out with , “Hey you got a permit for that?” I froze and my husband laughed. He went on to softer tones, I guess he was joking, as it seems like you need a permit for just about everything these days. Upon parting he called back to us, ” I am so glad to see you folks using that willow, there are bountiful resources all around us and no one even appreciates them” Yes! I thought, these are precious resources and they regenerate upon pruning, so we are just ensuring stronger healthy growth for next year.
I harvest all kind of amazing things along this river and these hill; sand for potting mix, clay for pots,willows for fences, pretty rocks for here and there and a bounty of wild medicines going unloved right under foot. Of course I harvest with reverence, respect and restraint. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging everyone to rampantly take from nature as they so please! I am simply seeing how many gifts we gain from the world around us if we can simply see their worth and find a place for them in our systems.
Wonderful willow, I am so grateful for you flexibility, sheer strength and ability to grow even in this dry land. Thank you for holding my garden in place and making my home nestled in a little basket. Thank you for your generosity and for your regeneration, and your resourcefulness and thank for teaching me more about such things.