Willows is a small nursery owned and run by us - Les & Anne Cordes - with assistance (a little only at present) from our daughter Rachel.
The name for the nursery came from a weeping willow originally here on the bare field site when we arrived plus the willow we planted for much needed windbreaks for our original (and still important) venture - Hardy Cyclamen. BUT then we realised just how varied, interesting and useful willow is . . . . !
We have our own stock plants for propagation, and our own willow beds provide cuttings of our best varieties of ‘functional’, weaving and ornamental willows - for you to grow windbreaks, attractive garden plants or to provide your own weaving material - and long willow whips, for you to create your own living willow structures and sculptures.
Salix (willow) is an extremely diverse genus, most of which are quite happy in any sort of loamy soil, including wetland. Their uses, too, are many, including, windbreaks, hedging, specimen plants, winter colour, fuel logs and weaving material for baskets and living sculptures, whilst, on a wider scale they are also used for soil stabilisation, land reclamation, effluent filtration beds and making furniture with a ‘rustic feel’. As a barrier/screen they also help to limit the noise of roads and provide their own pleasant rustling ‘white’ noise.
Growing willow is also beneficial to the environment attracting insects and numerous types of birds. Here at Willows Nursery, since we started growing willow, we now frequently see Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-Tailed Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Wrens, Pied, Yellow and Grey Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Linnets and more, including, more recently, a visiting Little Owl and a pair of Green Woodpeckers - none of which were around when we first came here!
It must be said that a variety of insects and aphids are attracted by the willow, but these are, at least in part, what has encouraged the birds - who very definitely maintain the balance, so we do not need to intervene. Willow catkins also provide nectar and pollen for beneficial insects, such as bees, early in the year when other sources are limited, attracting them to pollinate our garden vegetables and fruits.
We also get pleasure observing the local hare population amongst our willow beds, “pruning” our saplings as they grow in spring! We have enough that no significant damage is done, but smaller plantations may need protection for a year or two. Our Geese have had to be “netted out” for about four years. Goats will totally inhibit growth!
Please look through the different sections of our website, which we hope you will find interesting and helpful, to see the considerable versatility of willow in some of its many forms.
Les & Anne Cordes