Debra Prinzing

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Got twigs? Branch out and decorate your garden

April 25th, 2011

As you’re tidying up the spring garden with pruning, trimming and other projects, inevitably you will end up with a pile of twigs. Yes, they can go into the chipper or the compost bin, but these pliable, young branches can also be pressed into service in the garden.

I wrote about “saving twigs” for my Debra’s Garden column in the upcoming May issue of Better Homes & Gardens (you can already find it on newsstands). All you need is a clean, sharp pair of secateurs (pruners) or loppers and a pair of gloves to protect your hands while working.

Spring pruning projects usually produce armloads of branches and twigs. Give those cuttings a new purpose and build simple, natural-looking plant supports. Use twigs to stake young seedlings — just poke sticks into the soil a few inches to anchor them. Lash three or more branches together at the top to form a tee-pee trellis for sweet peas or edible peas. I also curve thin branches into a half-circle shape — stick both ends into the soil and overlap several of them to create scalloped edging for veggie and herb beds.

Here are some photos to inspire your next pruning project:

Designed by landscape architect Joseph Marek, these zesty veggie garden teepees are made by painting twigs Chinese red and lashing them together.

Twigs are bent into a half-circle, with each tip inserted into the ground; when these "scallops" overlap each other, they create a tidy edging along a path or planting bed.

P.S., someone asked about my reference to “lashing together” on my Facebook page. I do not know exactly how the teepee was lashed together, but having made similar structures in the past, I can say that I’ve used anything handy – twine, garden twistie ties, wire and even rubber bands. Use your ingenuity!

7 Responses to “Got twigs? Branch out and decorate your garden”

  1. panich paula Says:

    love those chinese-red twigs!

    love you, deb!

  2. Karoline Says:

    That red twig teepee is so smart, I love it!

  3. Lydia Plunk Says:

    Heaven help my poor husband! If he thought I was obsessive before- now I want to plant the vegetable garden in colors to coordinate with bright red trellis!

  4. Robin Horton/Urban Gardens Says:

    I LOVE these ideas! Really like asymmetric quality of Joseph Marek’s teeppees. I am going to have to steal that great idea!

  5. Mary Ann Newcomer Says:

    I knew the minute I saw those red tuteurs it was a garden J Marek had designed!! Didn’t we see that one together? Love this!

  6. Pruning Spring-Flowering Shrubs « Says:

    […] Pruning Spring-Flowering ShrubsPrune spring-flowering shrubs after flowering! The cut twigs can be used as plant supports: […]

  7. Shahar Says:

    Great idea !! thank you for sharing 🙂

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