Ffynnon Beuno sits right at the foot of a valley with steep sides and Beuno’s little babbling brook dissects the land. The flow varies depending on how much water is draining down from the mountains above us and the land either side but the brook is never dry even in the hottest of weathers.
The river banks are perfect for damp loving plants so at the far end of our land we planted willow in the first spring we got here. Willow adores water and we knew it would do well in the spot we had picked for it. It is also an excellent way to manage water flow and slow down a flood plain as the growing plants are thirsty! Willow has been woven by humans for millennia for uses such as basket making and fencing – fence made with willow can actually spring back into life and grow leaves, often referred to as a “fedge”!
We grow a variety of colours from very dark brown to a beautiful bright yellow and they look spectacular as they shoot up over the summer. They have some exotic names like Flanders Red and Black maul!
Each year in Spring, we harvest the best whips and then weave them into circles and leave them to dry out in a shed. In December, we then make traditional Christmas wreaths from the willow as a base with its beautiful colours interleaved with holly with bright red berries, variegated ivy and pine cones. Not only do they bring gorgeous green to people’s front door, but they are also very sustainable as over the year the base of the plant sends more shoots up sometimes to a height of 8 feet – ready for next years harvest! Our bees loves them too as unharvested whips grow fluffy catkins which is a welcome source of pollen in the early spring.