How to make a willow obelisk

Written by richard sweeney
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A little extra height is always welcome in a garden, adding another level of interest and providing more plant coverage. Try building a plant obelisk accented with climbers for emphasis. You can use attractive straight sticks of pliable willow or hazel of the length you desire to determine the height of the obelisk.
Flexible willow stems are increasingly available at craft and garden centres and by mail order. The willow obelisk project is simple, and when people comment on the lovely garden accent, you can proudly tell them you made it.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 15 to 19 willow or hazel poles (5-foot lengths)
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Willow stems for weaving (must be pliable)
  • Knife or pruners
  • Shovel

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  1. 1

    Gather the materials listed in Things You'll Need. If you cannot find fresh willow, then soak older, dried-out willow limbs in a large container of water overnight or until pliable.

  2. 2

    Prepare the garden area by clearing any weeds and unwanted plant growth. Level the ground in the area with your shovel.

  3. 3

    Stand an uneven number of rigid poles together to form the shape of a wigwam. Temporarily tie a short length of twine around the poles near the top to secure them while you complete the rest of the construction process.

  4. 4

    Wrap two or three pliable willow stems around the group of poles about 4 inches down from their tops to bind the poles tightly to each other. Push the willow securely into the wrapping to hold the willow in place. When a tight binding has been formed, if you feel the obelisk is stable, then remove the temporary twine.

  5. 5

    Twist two pliable willow stems together loosely before wrapping them around and weaving them in and out of the upright poles to make bindings about 2 inches wide in two places--roughly one-third and two-thirds of the distance between the top binding and ground level. Trim, and tuck any loose ends of willow to the inside of the obelisk as you work.

  6. 6

    Move the obelisk to the garden space. If you are planting a climber, like jasmine or ivy, then do so before you place the obelisk, and work the stems up the poles as the plants grow.

Tips and warnings

  • You may want to keep the temporary twine in place until the obelisk is place.
  • If you have a hard time getting the willow to hold, then a concealed bead of hot glue may do the trick until the willow conforms to its new shape.

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