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The Willow Spike

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old-forge-willow-spikeI recently learned that a willow spike is really helpful if you want to plant willow rods. I have tried my hand at planting willow before and I already have some growing in tyres but planting it in our rocky soil has been a problem. I knew I really needed a willow spike as the poker I was using just didn’t cut it.

I have been looking for a spike for a while and I couldn’t find one in any of the hardware shops I asked in. In fact they gave me that look – you know the one…the look they also give unfortunate building apprentices who are sent in to ask for ‘skirting ladders’ and ‘stripey paint’ while their mates fall around the place laughing!

I was even told there was no such thing as a spike for making holes in the garden!  So you can see why I was glad to see that there is man in doorway-willow-spikesuch a thing as Mark Wilson the teacher from my willow weaving course not only had one he also makes them at his forge! Here he is on the right.

So not only did I have a stroke of luck at getting a spike I also was lucky in that I got to visit one of the most amazing places I have seen in a long time – the forge in Mountshannon.

The forge has been in existence since 1760!  Stepping inside it is like stepping backwards in time. It is not just the beauty of the building and these old tools and instruments that make you gasp, but the way your skin absorbs the smells and dust. The atmosphere steers your thoughts and you find yourself tapping into memories you never really had – of men with heat tinged faces working with fire and metal.

I always will treasure my new willow spike! Let’s hope some of the forge’s history and spirit helps my willow grow!

willow-spike

To read about my willow weaving course at Irish Seedsavers click here.

To read about planting a willow bed click here.

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