Willow House

Weaving a Magic Place

Some 20 years ago we were given a gift of some osier basket willows from Annemarie & Graham from the Food Forest in Gawler. They figured they would grow better in our wet area. .We planted them as a copse down at the bottom of the valley adjoining our newly planted forest.

Over the years the copse was used for baskets, poles & trellis.

In August 2002 sculptor Evette Sunset began to weave a living house. A circle was picked out within the existing osier willow copse. Each tree was thinned down to the best large structural branches for the roof & wall frame work .Smaller branches up to 1 mitre long were cross-woven to fill in the ceiling & walls.

The woven willow house took about 12 days to make – with two people working together most of the time. Each winter it is pruned and prunings used for various projects.

The house is a dwelling & visiting place for many creatures. It breathes with the sun, wind & rain.

A circle of light travels across the floor like clockwork, as sun or moon journey through the sky, visible through the central opening in the roof – “the sky gate” or “eye of heaven”(so-called by Mongolian nomadic peoples)

Under the eye to the sky is a clay fireplace, made from digging out a near by pond. When the house was first completed it was decorated with clay, over the years with weather and use its now clothed in moss.

Alive & growing the house looks & feels different in each season .

In Spring its lush with delicate new lime green leaves;

In Summer shady & cool; In Autumn the fallen rich black leaves carpet the floor;

In Winter it’s a huge basket, a skeleton- framework.

A rhythm of gentle change

A of living chair graces the outside area. Here Evette has just pruned it.

A series of ponds where hand dug after the willow house was built but thats another story.
The willow house as become my retreat ,my special place, a great place to relax, watch the birds or read .It has hosted many long lunches, evening bbq & a wedding decorated with purple bougainvillea.

Around my gardens you will find other bits of woven magic


  1. Thanks Deb,
    this was a lovely story to read and great photos.I have only ever seen your willow house in winter,devoid of leaves,even then it was quite magical! 20 years is a long time to nurture such a thing, I think that in itself is special!
    kind wishes,

  2. Hi Deb! I found your site thru Hills and Plains Seedsavers. I noticed they were pruning their willow house and I wanted to learn how to grown one. They have sent me to you. Wow - I'm impressed! I'm going to try and grow my own willow house.

    I've blogrolled you on my site, so I'll be checking back in!