How To Make A Fairy Broom When The Need Arises
The Fairegarden fairies sent a registered letter to the caretakers of their gazebo. It has been more than a year since any maintenance has been attended to, and things have fallen into disrepair. To read the story about last year’s efforts, click here-Beefing Up The Fairy Gazebo. To read about the initial construction of the fairy gazebo, click here-Fairy Gazebo.
There is rain in the forecast. Any minute now, according to the doppler radar map bookmarked on the laptop for instant weather checking pertaining to garden tasks when the impulse strikes to run outside, the sky will open wide and say ahhh. Or maybe that is the garden saying ahhh, but anywho, the fairy gazebo area is a mess, so saith the letter. The fairies are aware that when the rotting carcass that was the stump of red maple tree Ferngully finally bit the dust, it just missed hitting their hideway and rec center by a hair. Luck was with us that day, click here-Ferngully-End Of The Line if you wish to read about it, as the huge trunk hit the ground with a thud. The decomposing bark and innards scattered with great force, ricocheting here, there and everywhere. At the time, the imperative was to get the larger pieces picked up and the path made passable. There was great gratitude that the gazebo was spared, but clean up was postponed until a later date. Then it was forgotten while the ferngully pieces were categorized and filed away for future use.
To the left of the gazebo, where the tree trunk landed, the special plantings are emerging with fresh spring growth, undamaged. English bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta and Primula veris have been spread there and are filling in nicely. The elfin thyme planted in tiny terra cotta pots on each side of the entryway has spilled over the pot edges and is sweetly creeping over the stone approach. Little steps will release the herb’s scent as the gazebo welcomes their arrival.
The material chosen from which to make the broom, after perusing the garden for likely candidates was the lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ that was growing nearby. It has been learned from past tragedies that the lavender must not be
hacked pruned until the new growth of spring is well under way or the plant can be killed. These cuttings were taken from the longest stems, leaving plenty of foliage on the plant for protection until the weather has warmed for good. Speaking of weather, there is some haste required as the rain clouds hover in the distance. This project needs to be completed before the first drops fall, for the camera is not waterproof. We must hurry. Fifteen scented pieces were assembled, bottom leaves stripped and all trimmed to equal length, about ten inches.
Waxed linen was chosen to do the binding, because it is more water resistant, should the broom be kept out of doors in case the fairies needed to do a bit of sweeping up after an especially big party, like Midsummer Night’s Eve. The spool also happened to be hanging in the craft room. We began winding the stems together and were reminded of brooms that have been made in the past. Broom making was one of the more fun and rewarding projects here, beginning with the purchase of broom corn seeds on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg one year. The seeds were planted, the plants grew to gigantic proportions and brooms were made, using instructions found online. A post was done about it that can be read by clicking here. Thinking about those full sized brooms, it was decided that the fairy broom should be more than just a batch of bound twigs. A branch of Chamaecyparis was chosen, the same material used to make the gazebo. It has held up well to the elements and again, was growing nearby. The initial attempt was unwound and rewound around the branch that would be the handle. The foliage was left on for now, but will quickly brown, dry and disentegrate. It adds some pizzazz for the photo op.
The weaving of the binding, over and under, around and around is the most fun part of broom making. We were quite into the making of baskets for several years, especially using material from the garden, and still love to weave. The waxed linen proved an excellent weaver, sticking to itself to keep the line taught, which is very important for brooms and baskets. You want to pull the weaver as tightly as possible without snapping it or the stakes. The lavender, though freshly picked was brittle and a couple of pieces did break off during the process. (Lavender flowers and stems are often used to make sachets, weaving the stems with ribbons after pulling them upside down and over the flowers to make a little cage. A how to post about that
should might be made this summer, no promises however.) But there was the rain to come at our backs and adjustments were quickly made to keep weaving.
The long handle made it easy to reach into the interior parts of the gazebo. The lavender did the job of removing the leaves and needles without stirring up the moss too much. The stone bench was given a smooth finish, ready for lounging wee folk to recline or a group to sit close together whilst regaling each other with tales of derring do.
After the clean sweep, the moss floor was replenished, patched and pressed down for good contact with the bare earth, better to get a foothold, so to speak. The coming rain will help to settle it in. The lovely piece of stained glass, a gift from offspring Brokenbeat and wife Mashley, thanks guys, and a very happy fifth wedding anniversary today!, was hung on the back wall. A piece of Chamaecyparis was added, note the more reddish stem of fresh material on the left of the glass, to help hold it in place during raucous dance marathons in the mosh pit. A feather boa, no that is a crocheted scarf from some colorful yarn that we have been wearing to keep our neck warm during winter gardening, you would be surprised how having the neck cozy makes one feel more comfortable in sub freezing temps, was woven around the doorway to add some much needed color.
All cleaned up and ready for use, ahead of the rain even. You can see what we mean about the need for color until the flowers begin blooming. There is a definite need for some winter interest planting here, another project for the to do list. Where is the broom, you might be asking? As seen in the first photograph of this post, it is laying across the top of the gazebo, nearly invisible, isn’t it?
Let’s bring it inside and hang it with the other brooms we have made, until the need for it again arises. Then the next time the Fairy Caucus thinks housekeeping needs to be notified, the tool will be at hand.
Other Fairy postings, not linked in the above story can be found here:
Yes, it could be said that we got carried away with the theme in the spring/summer of 2008. Things have evened out a bit since, but the Fairies are still part of the Fairegarden. It is hoped that they always will be.