With freezing night-time temperatures, the Muddy Fork garden remains dormant (apart from the weeds of course), and the new raised beds are still awaiting the topsoil delivery. While there is still work to be done on planting plans and tidying up, the winter does allow other activities to come to the fore.
January saw harvesting time in the Muddy Fork willow holt, situated near the main path into the Idle Valley reserve. In February some of the willow trees on the bank between the garden and the orchard were cut back, with the hope that they would provide further willow wands for weaving next winter. Some willow varieties are more suitable for weaving than others and the yellow variety grown is particularly good. There are over 200 willow varieties, including the one used for cricket bats!
Willow can be stored for use all year round and the Muddy Fork weavers make good use of their supplies. As weaving is a sitting-down activity it often appeals to people who want to be involved in the garden but have limited mobility. And weaving offers excellent opportunities for chatting – there’s something for everyone at Muddy Fork!
Weaving products range from small bird feeders to garden sculptures, taking in planters, fences and trellises, baskets and garden structures such as plant supports. Several animal sculptures of various sizes can be seen in the garden. While much of the weaving is done just for enjoyment, sales of products can help support the project financially and commissions can be taken.
Muddy Fork welcomes enquiries from anyone who might like to get involved in any way. More details of the gardening sessions and on how to get involved can be found at www.muddyfork.org – or email firstname.lastname@example.org.