Willow wonderment

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John Shone (left) and Martin Keeley (right) of Rutland Willows with some of their wonderful willow products

Rutland Willows amazed members on Wednesday evening this week with a witty and humorous talk by John Shone and son-in-law, Martin Keeley.

Whilst John introduced us to the numerous varieties of willow, their cultivation, colouring and harvesting, Martin very deftly created some wonderful shapes (see picture below of the dragonfly and fishing rod) plus giving us a useful tip on preserving them with spray on teak oil and, for the very conscientious, clear wood preserver.

It was good to hear that Rutland Willows manages the willow at a local, favourite beauty spot, Fineshade Woods, Corby.  It was fascinating, too, to hear how the demand for willow products dropped during the Second World War with the advent of cheap metals and plastic.  However, it was very pleasing to hear that through a connection with Louise, one of John’s twin daughters, who worked for Geoff Hamilton of Gardeners’ World fame, that incidental use of some willow products in the programmes brought back the demand when everyone wanted willow products in their own garden.

More on the history of Rutland Willows and to se more of their products again, they are having a stand at the Sandringham Flower Show in June.

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Information stand

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Fishing rod and dragonfly – both kindly donated as raffle prizes



Wonders of Willow – see you at WI tomorrow evening

Rutland Willows will be showing us many uses of willow and its history.  Sounds fascinating and we have all seen some of the lovely items you can get for the garden.

Lots of updates, too, on all that’s happening on our exciting social programme and the special events for the WI Centenary.

Hope to see you there at 7.30 pm.