Gardens Illustrated Magazine

A green obsession


I adore ferns, moss and trees, so this was a dream build inspired by my indoor bird’s nest fern. I wanted to create a mews of nests from garden material to display my outdoor ferns and had great fun weaving these structures among the crevices of a gnarly, old tree stump. I added extra branches bearing a collection of mossy kokedama, arranged against the weathered, moss-covered wooden lids of our compost bins, creating a verdant spring display.

How to make

If you’ve ever really looked at the intricate architectu­re of a bird’s nest you will know they are sublime works of art. To make my simplified versions, I started with a wire frame, bending three pieces of wire into semicircle­s, twisted around each other at their midpoints to make a bowl shape with six equal portions. I then wove 90cm lengths of pre-soaked brown willow strands in and out of the wire shell, working from the base up in concentric circles. I filled any gaps with extra willow and lined with moss before placing the fern inside with a mantle of compost. Alternativ­ely, a coir pot wrapped in willow or flexible garden prunings held in place with a little wire would suffice.

To make the egg-shaped kokedama, I removed the plants from their pots, and moulded a little clay soil around their rootballs before wrapping in moss, secured with dark cotton. I soaked them well to hydrate them, patting them dry before hanging from the slimmer branches. I used a variety of green ferns and houseplant­s, but a selection of wildflower plugs, violas, primroses or even muehlenbec­kia would look fantastic.

Recommende­d suppliers

• Musgrove Willows Willow Fields, Lakewall, Westonzoyl­and, Bridgwater, Somerset TA7 0LP. Tel 01278 691105, musgrovewi­

• Twelve Nunns 16 Carisbrook Grove, Stamford, Lincolnshi­re PE9 2GF.

Tel 012778 59045, twelvenunn­ Breeder and online supplier of

Harvington hellebores.

• Welsh Organic Wildflower­s, Llantilio Crossenny, Abergavenn­y NP7 8TH. welshorgan­icwildflow­

• Find wooden eggs, eyelets, floristry kit, ribbons etc on online craft stores.


To watch our video of Jacky creating her spring wreath, scan the QR code with your phone camera or head to gardens illustrate­­th

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