Sticks, twigs, branches, poles call them what you will, anything with some length, strength and capable of being carried and cut to length will invariably find a purpose in the garden. Most uses are practical: as plant supports; for training plants into more appropriate positions; for plant protection from the weather or visiting animals (including humans) and as aesthetic props for humans.
As using a drill or any such tool causes problems, different methods of attachment have had to be found over the years. Raffia and recycled materials have always been used, together with twine and different forms of string to hold parts together. The aim is sustainability, therefore wherever possible ‘tying’ materials are now sought from the garden. They are not always as durable as those previously mentioned, but are more than adequate for most practice processes.
Plants often need to be trained, especially where space is limited.
Who could throw out old terracotta pots, even if they are damaged. They too can shade and shape little landscapes. They find new life in shielding tender plants from excess heat during the summer and help to retain some moisture in the soil.
Protection is necessary for different reasons and takes many forms. Staking is probably the most frequently required and used. Robust growth soon obscures unsightly constructions allowing the plants to be appreciated at their best.
When tall plants are used to create screens for privacy and to lessen pollution and noise, they can also be considered as a structure to be viewed to stimulate other senses.
Left to their own devices, long stems would snap in the wind, they require structural interventions. Trialling different ideas can produce interesting results which may not always have practical outcomes. The practice processes as part of a working garden inevitably produce interesting results for the curious mind – even if initial work is tiring and might at first appear to be going nowhere with regards to creativity.
Old household crockery can become part of an outdoor picture (a new one every day if there is time), whilst still serving a very practical purpose.