There is a massive choice of different varieties of English willow alone. The most popular with basket makers is Black Maul. Which is prefferd because it produces a good clean flexable rod, of about six feet long annually. In September to late November the willow stops growing and slowly sheds its leaves. Between November and March willow is dormant and this is the time both for harvesting and for planting cuttings. After cutting the willow it is treated slightly differently to produce the four natural colour's I use in my baskets. The willow rods are then dried and are bundled in to Bolts of different lengths ready to be sent off to me. When I receive it, the willow is already sorted in to colours and length's so it makes it easy for me to soak in my tank . Depending on the thickness, this can take up to a couple of hours for the skinless white and buff colour's and up to a week for the brown and green willow as these stlll retain their skin's. Then it is extremerly flexable and ready to weave with if you do not let it dry out.

The Different Colour's of Willow I Use.

There are four colour's of willow rods locally known as "withies" or "Osier" these are forms of Salix viminalis-(Black Maul) and are generally sort after by basket maker's:

  • Buff : This is most popular colour and is obtained by boiling the willows. Which then release's the natural tannin from the skin into the rod's. The bark which is then stripped from the withies leaving the rich red-brown colour.
  • Green : These rods are not treated and are used in their natural state.The name comes from the  raw state, not their colour.
  • Brown : Also locally known as Steamed Willow in Somerset, this is boiled but not stripped of its bark. It gives a very dark brown colour verging on black.
  • White : Is the most expensive willow to purchase, it is only produced in the springtime for a few weeks in a year. When the sap is rising the willow is cut and stripped of its bark immediaterly without boiling. 

Please ask if you would like a certain colour of willow in your basket as I may not have all of the colours and sizes in stock all of the time (Subject to availibility). As certain colours are more difficult to obtain as are seasonally produced.