Gardeners have always loved English willow baskets. They are perfect for collecting cut flowers, vegetables and fruit crops, make ideal Christmas presents, are essential for holding logs by the fire and are a wonderful countryside decoration for special rooms in the home.

For the latter use you can stuff them with pot plants in the winter, potted primrose or miniature daffodils in the spring, billowing bunches of cottage flowers in the summer and hedgerow fruits and berries in the autumn. The contrast between woven natural willow and living nature is fabulous.

Many people have also have developed quite a fancy for creating a living willow structure in the garden, having seen them on show most gardeners are impressed by how attractive they are and especially how well they blend into almost any type of garden.

In particular imaginative folk like the way this pliable living greenery can be formed into amazingly cool and inviting arbours. Once built and matured over a couple of seasons there is nowhere more cosy and secretive to be tucked away, especially if you grace it with a beautiful antique style garden bench.

 Alternatively, if you enjoy eating alfresco you could put down a paved or cobbled floor in the arbour with a bistro set to complete your ‘enchanted’ outdoor dining area.

A great place to buy all sorts of natural English willow products and to see the willow growing or even do basket making courses is the English Willow Baskets company in Somerset.

The Centre is owned and run by the Coate family, who have been growing willow on the Somerset Levels since 1819. Visitors will find a warm welcome here and are invited to learn about the history and art of willow growing and basket making and having been there myself in the past I can thoroughly recommend a visit. Alternatively you can check out their website if you want to buy a willow basket or living willow kit online.