Amy Whitworth, the wonderful woman who helped us with our front landscaping project, told me about Margaret Mathewson, who teaches ethnobotany, basketry, and other traditional crafts. I couldn't believe there was someone out there teaching exactly the sort of things I want to learn. It sounded perfect, and it was hard to wait for today's class. I kept worrying that someone would die or there would be chicken pox again.
Margaret Mathewson's class was at the glorious Dancing Oaks Nursery in Monmouth. I've never been to a more enchanted nursery. Really good energy there, beautiful grounds, and healthy plants. This photo shows some of the examples Margaret brought with her or that she demonstrated for us today. Depending on how green the willow canes are, these structures can start to grow and become living fences and cages. I'm looking forward to trying one of the free-form balls because I'd love to have that to roll around on our grass.
I feel like a whole new world was opened up for me today. We don't have any willow growing here right now, but next year I can use the dogwood, cherry, and apple prunings I take. Also, Amy told me how and when to prune the red osier dogwoods to maximize their weavability. (Fun fact for today: "osier" signifies that the plants were specifically used for weaving and basketry.)
Margaret Mathewson has a couple of other classes scheduled at Dancing Oaks Nursery through the end of the summer, and I'm keeping my eye peeled for more. It was a magical day.