Wicker production

In the Gaume region, wicker formed the basis for the work of the basket weavers. “Wicker” refers to the species of willow whose young branches are used in basket making. The activity that involves the production of willow is referred to as “osiericulture” or willow / wicker production. A plantation of willows is referred to as a “willow grove”.
The willow (Salix) belongs to the family of Salicaceae; of which there are over 200 varieties. This is a tree that can grow to 10 m in height and which can be found in marshy areas. In the practice of wicker production, cultivars are cut back to the stump at ground level or sometimes cut from trunks which are referred to as “pollarded" willows.
A multitude of varieties of willow exist with diverse local names, which have adapted to the conditions of the environment (soil, climate) and have been adapted to the needs of commerce.
Willow is harvested each year and only a dozen varieties are used in basket making.

The willow obtained from my plantation is not treated with any chemicals and is hand weeded.
The difference in colour is due to the choice of species and varieties and to the soil conditions.

 

Willow on sale at the Paniers du Mervaux:

Green (living) willow

These are freshly harvested willow wands. They are mainly used for plant architecture/sculpture. Living willow was used in medieval gardens for weaving hurdles.
The willow is harvested between November and April. It is then woven or planted directly into the ground to embellish gardens, playgrounds, ... hedges, huts, mazes, plant structures, etc...
See our prices below

Raw willow (non-stripped)

Bundled green willow wands (in bolts), after natural drying, become dried raw willow wands, also known as grey willow. Immersion in water for several days is necessary to restore to the dried raw willow sufficient suppleness for it to be worked. Well-soaked willow can be worked for several days. The different colours combine marvellously well in your basketry and other wicker work.
It is sold by length and by the kg. 
See our prices below

White willow (stripped)

These are willow wands stripped of their bark. Green willow wands sorted by length are bundled into bolts and stored in troughs or tanks known in French as ‘routoirs’. After the first warm weather, the vegetation re-awakens and the sap flows again in the willow stems, which enables their bark to be stripped.
The bark stripping or peeling is performed manually using a stripping knife or, more commonly today using rotary bark peeling machines.
After thorough drying, the willow wands are bundled by size into bolts and stored in a dry place and out of the light.
In order to give white willow sufficient suppleness, it is immersed in water for several hours.
Thoroughly soaked willow, that has been humidified right through to the pith, is suitable for working for several hours. 
It is sold by length and by the kg. 
See our prices below

Cuttings

For your individual planting Van d'Ouest offers 25 cm cuttings (cultivation on a stock) and rods of 120 cm (for pollarded cultivation).

See the varieties available and the prices below

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