Last month I was delighted to be asked to try out a beautiful piece of living art, The Willow Wand. The Willow Wand is supplied as a hardwood stick cutting that magically grows its own roots and leaves to become a living sculpture, in just a few weeks. It is now six weeks since I planted my Willow Wand, and this is how it’s got on.
Disclosure: I was sent a Willow Wand for the purpose of this review.
What is The Willow Wand?
The award-winning Willow Wand is woven from 9 living willow stems into a beautiful, intricate stem. The decorative stem remains fixed in height, but over the first few seasons grafts together into a single trunk, retaining its stunning woven effect. The instructions are simple. Plant it, water it, watch it grow, and in as little as 6 weeks the decorative stem will have magically grown a beautiful topiary crown.
And that is precisely what has happened!
How I planted my Willow Wand
The Willow Wand arrives as a set of nine willow whips, woven together to create a beautiful stem that is tied at the top with a decorative band and fixed at the bottom with a cable tie. It is recommended that the wand is planted as soon as possible after purchase. It must be kept outside all year and is suitable for planting both in pots or straight into the ground.
We have several Willow trees growing in our garden, and I have shared weaving willow wreaths, crowns, balls and even a Willow and Succulent Christmas Tree in the past. I know that they love our conditions – which is heavy and wet. But I decided to plant my Willow Wand in a pot which I have had my eye on at the garden centre for months.
Willow loves water. So much, in fact, it is perfectly happy growing in waterlogged conditions, so I took that into account when planting my willow wand.
I used a glazed pot and used a cork to block the drainage hole.
I filled the pot with the recommended mix of multi-purpose compost and John Innes no.3. And planted my wand at the advised depth of 15cm. I then top dressed the compost with some decorative gravel to encourage moisture retention, and make it look pretty.
A quick overview of the ongoing maintenance of the Willow Wand.
The most important thing is that the compost that your wand is growing in is kept moist at all times.
Any buds that grow below the decorative band should be removed. I have found them easy to rub off with my fingers. Anything above where the whips are tied can be left to grow and will become part of the crown.
For a dense topiary effect, the shoots of the crown should be pruned back by 50% 6-8 weeks after growth starts, with a second and even third lighter trim a few weeks later. All pruning should be completed by mid-August.
And this is what my beautiful Willow Wand looks six weeks after planting. The wand is available in a variety of sizes and can be grown as a stand-alone specimen, in groups or even as hedging.
You can find lots more information and see some stunning photos of more mature specimens including the hedging on the Willow Wand Website.