oval willow laundry basket with inset handles
I know it sounds boring – a post about laundry baskets. But hauling laundry is one task that almost everyone has to do and a basket is still a good tool for the task. So why not choose a willow basket that is both durable and attractive. The oval laundry basket with inset handles is my favorite.
basic round laundry basket
The basic round laundry basket with roped handles is based on a Swiss potato basket. Actually, many of the forms that Katherine uses for laundry baskets are influenced by the willow basketry classes that she took from Werner Turtschi. Werner is an excellent teacher who came to the Pacific Northwest a number of times. The great thing about the roped handles is that they can be replaced if they are damaged or wear out. By the way, “roped” refers to the technique not material of the handles.
Christie’s colorful laundry basket
Some people would like a larger basket to accommodate larger or more than one loads. The basket above was made for one of our neighbors who wanted many colors in the basket especially the purples and reds. She wanted a larger basket but her doorways made it necessary to go tall rather than wide. The basket below was made for a customer in Massachusetts who wanted a basket large enough to carry two wet loads of laundry back from the laundromat to the home clothesline.
two load laundry basket
Finally there is the square basket. These are very nice for the folded laundry, though they can be a bit large for navigating doors and halls.
square willow laundry basket
After you get the basket for the laundry room, you’ll need a hamper for the dirty clothes!
willow clothes hampers
Like always, you can find out more about Katherine’s baskets at our website.
Skagit Valley tulips
Tulips are what attract visitors to the Skagit Valley every April, and sometimes into May like this year. The tulip fields have generally reached full bloom. This week is the last one to appreciate the stunning view of large blocks of various colors. Don’t forget to stop by Dunbar Gardens!
rows of pink tulips
tulip fields with Mount Baker in the distance
workers culling the fields for disease and rogues
What to do with those willow cuttings? Willows are usually propagated by planting hardwood cuttings directly in the soil. This method works especially well with willows grown for basketry and other garden uses. Dunbar Gardens sells cuttings about 11 inches in length like the bundles in the photo above. On the farm, I usually find that an 8 inch cutting is adequate.
planting willow cuttings
I till the soil in advance and then simply insert the cutting into the ground with the buds facing up.
new willow planting
These basketry willows are planted in rows that are 32 inches apart and spaced 8 inches in the row. After the photo was taken, I trimmed some of these cuttings back to two or three buds remaining above ground.
planted willows leafing out
Success rate on the willows generally is quite high. I have had some disappointments. For example, Salix purpurea x daphnoides does not seem to root quite as easily and S. purpurea ‘nana’ has very slender wood which makes rooting in the field more challenging.
second year growth
A frequent question is what to do the second spring? I cut back most of our willows to within an inch of the ground level like in the above photo. This pruning will encourage the growth near the base. The stool is going to get a little higher each year that the willow is coppiced; so it is important to start low.
April is the Tulip Festival in the Skagit Valley and Dunbar Gardens is open.
another roadside attraction in the Skagit Valley
new hanging basket sign
no tulips but we have baskets
the take home message
willow baskets by Katherine Lewis
the reluctant greeter