Last February I wanted a photography hide and decided to make one out of willow (withy). I cut stalks of curly willow which I already had around the property, stuck them in the ground near the subterranean irrigation lines in a ten-foot diameter, and hoped for the best.
Curly willow tolerates less water, direct sunlight and heat better than the native willows, as well as being delightfully kinky.
The willow grew immediately, gradually sending out tall shoots and lots of leaves. Most withy structures are created with straight willow sticks that are crossed and either tied or woven into a pattern.
Since I began with irregular pieces and the nature of the willow is very curly, I just let it do its thing and figured that abundance would make a good hiding spot. It did.
A few weeks ago I took some of the tallest stalks and tied them together overhead to create something of a dome shape. I’m not sure how the willow will adapt to the changes, but they ought to begin to grow in that curved shape. I didn’t tie all of them because I wanted a wild look, just semi-tamed.
The willows are already beginning to lose their leaves, creating a wonderful mulch underneath. While the willows are bare there won’t be as good of a hiding spot, but as more stalks grow next year it should fill up beautifully.