Gardening Update: Willows in Wales

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The Independent Online
THIS weekend the RHS Flower Show at the Garden Festival Wales includes an 82-year-old 'Mother-in- Law's cushion', Echinocactus grusonii, measuring 20in across, belonging to Craig House Cacti. In the Woodland Garden look out for Ian Hunter's leafy willow sculptures and Nick Pett's giant woven willow nest. Adults and children were fighting to climb into this alternative to a tree house.

The sculptures would be good enough to illustrate a second edition of Jean Stone's The Rustic Garden (Batsford pounds 35), which has wonderful pictures of woven structures. The best is the cathedral constructed from willow rods in 1792, although everything about the book is intriguing. Pictures of woven wattle arbours, bridges, fences and grottos enliven the text, a historical survey of everything made from branches, twigs and roots.

To see the real thing, the Garden Festival at Ebbw Vale is open daily 10am-8pm: admission pounds 8.50 adults, pounds 5.50 children and OAPs, family tickets pounds 26. (Details 0495 350360).

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