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    Willow Structures in the Garden | Spring 2013 Out Here Magazine

    Lee Zieke shows how to use willows for making garden structures

    By Carol Davis

    Photography by Greg Latza

    Lee Zieke's beautiful willow basketry is only part of what she creates from her 3 acres of cultivated willow.

    The gardens at Willowglen, the scenic northern Iowa acreage that she shares with her husband, Lindsay Lee, are dotted with Lee's willow handiwork - a wattle fence along a vegetable garden, a walk-through arched trellis in a large flower garden, and wickets and plant supports placed throughout.

    "The utilitarian notion that a gardener can grow a renewable source for garden fences and plant supports or baskets and sculpture appeals to my German and Dutch heritage," Lee says.

    Wattle fences are made by weaving willow, or any kind of flexible green sapling wood, between upright posts. The posts should be made of cedar or another rot-resistant wood so they don't decompose and break off at the soil level.

    Garden edging is made just like wattle fencing, only on a much smaller scale.


    Lee makes garden wickets by bending pliable 3-foot shoots into an arch and sticking each end in the ground. You can place these end to end, but it's more interesting if you overlap the ends, as she's done.


    A garden teepee creates an interesting visual point for the garden and makes an excellent trellis.


    A whimsical hut is a fun hideout for children while functioning as a trellis for climbing flowers or vegetables. It's also a fun element to your garden.


    Lee lashes large willow shoots together vertically and horizontally to create natural-looking trellises for flowers and vegetables. Make sure to leave enough length at one end to "plant" the trellis into the ground.


    Lee's outstanding craftsmanship is evident even where most people don't look - at the bottom of the basket.


    Lee's willow baskets come in all shapes, sizes, color variations, and styles.


    Lindsay harvests from the couple's abundant vegetable gardens.


    Lee and Lindsay have enhanced their scenic northern Iowa property with beautiful gardens.

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    Spring 2013 Out Here Magazine Home Page

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