Yesterday I decided that I would no longer walk past the dead willow fedge and sigh in a defeatist manner.

Ever since it gave up the ghost a couple of years ago, the fedge has slowly become weaker and weaker as the willow dried out. Neither we, nor Graham who planted it, have ever quite worked out what went wrong. Every time we mention it to anyone, the response is always, “but willow grows anywhere – you can’t stop it once it starts going”. Well maybe, but not on our meadow it would seem.

There have been a few hardy bits that soldier on, and we will continue to incorporate these into new fencing as we go. The remains of the fedge have been acting as a good visual barrier, but, every time I remove last year’s grasses and weeds from the base, or the wind gets up a bit, a section of the willow breaks and we have another gap to fill.

We solved part of the problem last year by replacing the section at the top of the meadow with a dead hedge. This has worked brilliantly and we will continue to extend this dead hedge around the corner, along beside the pond, and to the gateway to the farmhouse.

However, we haven’t the room to do this on the other side, between the gate and the pizza oven. So here the fedge has lingered on.

I started weeding it yesterday, all the time muttering to myself about my own failings, and listening to the occasional crack of another stem breaking, but about half way along I threw down my secateurs and decided that enough was enough. It turns out that pulling up a dead willow fedge is a lot easier than planting it.

Having cleared an empty space, the big question was what to replace it with. Ironically, woven willow panels were one of the most cost effective, eco friendly and aesthetically pleasing options. But then Neel, in his calm wisdom, reminded me to think about what we have around us and of all the times that we have created new things, for free, on our own.

The result is a new post and rail fence, made from willow, apple and ash cuttings, in true Ling’s Meadow style. It is a bit ‘wibbly’ and takes the natural shape of the branches that we used, but it is sturdy enough and we hope that you like it. The lessons that I have learnt today have been…..

  1. if something is bothering you, change it
  2. not everything will go right the first time but that’s OK
  3. there is usually something sitting in a pile somewhere that can do the job
  4. you will be much happier with the result if you have made it yourself

I just hope I can remember this the next time I walk past something and sigh.

Post and rail fence Ling’s Meadow style
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