Picture of Pick Up Sticks...and Make a Twig Trellis
Gardeners need all the support they can get. There never seems to be enough time, after all, between spring's first green shoots and summer's skyward-climbing stems bent under the weight of heavy-headed peonies, ripe tomatoes, and plump pea pods. As any green thumb knows, many tall ornamentals and climbing edibles need something to lean on to keep them ­upright so that they're not rotting in moist soil.

MORE: Build a Potted Trellis With Branches

Ever since colonial-era homesteaders wove wattle garden structures from unbranched shoots of willow or hazel and set their peas to clamber over rows of tiny-twigged birch limbs, countless generations have used sticks to prop up their plants. Today, homeowners who want to combine beauty and ­utility can do the same. "Metal stakes and hoops may be practical," says Connecticut gardener Thyrza Whittemore, "but ­aesthetics are important, even in the vegetable garden." So she reaches for branches pruned in early spring—close at hand, easy to fashion to the right size, biodegradable, and free—to bring order to her beds. Read on to learn how she does it.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Get prepped

Picture of Get prepped
Build a diamond-patterned twig trellis for climbers Collect fresh, straight hardwood cuttings about 1/2-inch in diameter. Flexible apple shoots are easiest to work with, but shrub willow or dogwood, maple, or sassafras sapling twigs can be used, or improvise with bamboo stakes from the garden center. For this 3-foot-high, 10-foot-long trellis, Thyrza used 60 sticks, 3 to 4 feet long, plus three thicker ones, 4 to 5 feet long (rebar or garden stakes can sub for these if need be).
MORE: Best Hand Pruners
This Old House (author) 4 years ago
Thanks to all for the feedback! Stay tuned for more!
bruc33ef4 years ago
 Seek and ye shall find -- just what I was looking for and VERY well done.  Five Stars from me.  Excellent, and great links, too.

This Old House (author)  bruc33ef4 years ago
So glad you liked it! If you complete the project, make sure you send us pictures:) Send them to
Kiteman4 years ago
All rights reserved, external links on every step, and step nine nothing but external links...

It looks like spam to me.

This Old House (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Still playing with the site a bit, trying to get a sense of what users prefer. Will tone it down on the relateds in coming ibles. Thanks!
Jayefuu4 years ago
They look good! Is there not risk of them sprouting?
This is really amazing that it is coming at this moment. I recently went to Williamsburg where there they have done the colonial weave that you were just talking about.

Excellent Instructable and thank you!