Save spring prunings for edging and fairy house construction material

Willow edging

It’s sunny in Portland today, and I was out in the garden in earnest for the first time in months. I pruned a neglected hydrangea, and while standing back to admire my handiwork, I naturally started brainstorming about what I could do with the clippings. I’m a cheap gardener which feeds my inclination toward DIY.

The straightest and most flexible of the pruned twigs could go into a rough construction of willow edging (although it won’t be exclusively willow, obviously). I only have short bursts of time in the garden, so I never have enough twigs to construct an entire length of edging, but this is a project that can evolve, patchwork-like, over a month or two. Place the “stakes” (the thick supporting branches) and just weave in what you’ve got at the time. Each time you prune something, weave in a little more. Kids LOVE this. The picture above is a lovely example — from Gayla Trail’s journal (part of one of my fave gardening sites, You Grow Girl).

Another idea: fairy houses! Inspired by the book Fairy Houses Everywhere, this has become my daughter’s favorite sunny day activity. Save small-scale twigs and artfully-twisted branches for building material. You can decorate with moss, bark, and blossoms.

Do you have any suggestions for using up spring prunings?

More: Best of Parent Hacks: Gardening with kids


  1. Carrie says

    First – I have to say that I am jealous! I only wish I could be outdoors pruning right now. We just got another 4inches of snow (Alberta) and there seems to be no end in sight to our winter.

    Second – that is a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it out when I prune the dogwoods. Perhaps a fairy house is in order…

  2. joyjoy says

    you can use these to make garden trellises as well. i made a trellis for our green beans , and a little shade roof for some herb pots. it works really well if you also gather some of the larger limbs that fall after a storm, and then weave in the prunings. garden twine helps!

  3. says

    I love the fairy house idea! That really is a wonderful project to do with children, and now I want to check out the book you mentioned :)

  4. says

    Fabulous idea.

    We recycle paper plates that are not too dirty after picnics / parties and use them to make fairy houses in the garden.

  5. says

    Wow. I’ve been reading your stuff for about a year now and this is basically the only sh*t I dont agree with. Give atleast a little credit where credit is due. Kobe got his ass kicked by this so called fluke. So what? Chill out. No one said the Rockets were the best team.