Sometimes you find the most amazing things – digging up willow roots in my garden was a really hard job, requiring the use of a pick ax, a mattock, several shovels and lots of sweat.
Eventually, the roots were removed, dragged to the fence and leaned up to dry in preparation to burning them.
Looking closer revealed an exceptional thing – the roots looked just like strange primitive people!
Three willow root people emerged, one with lots of shaggy hair, swinging around as the willow root person danced; the other two with fearsome weapons, daggers or...something else.
Keeping my eyes open paid off in this instance, strengthening my resolve to be right there, present and noticing everything.
The willow root people have a place of honor beside the fence, and they’ll be there until they rot away completely. The rest of the fence is also made from roots, mostly jackpine - these do not make the fantastical root systems of the willows!
The native willows around here are Salix bebbiana, and display a lot of variations in leaf shape, growth habit and hardiness. Luckily for me, they don't mind a quite dry, sandy and acidic soil. They are perfectly adapted to the conditions in my garden.
The roots aren't the only part that makes great garden art and crafts - the twigs are prized for basket making, fences, hurdles and even furniture. They're flexible and versatile.
Driftwood also sometimes has fantastical figures hidden in it. Watch for them when you're on the beach looking for some garden art.