Plessis The Grapes

In this workshop we will build a Plessis (a woven natural living fence) for a grape vine. Living fences (Hedges and woven fences) can last for centuries. With a little planning, protection, skill and patience they can be incredibly strong and resilient. Living fences are a valuable tool for gardens, farms, work and living spaces.

sun-trapIn this workshop, permaculture teacher April Sampson-Kelly invites you to discover how to weave borders, screens and fences (plessis) out of boughs of mulberry, hazelnut, and most other garden prunings.  Plessis is an old French word for “interlacing” and plesser is the verb “to interlace or weave.” Plessis style fencing was widespread in the Middles Ages and was still used in France until the end of the 19th century.  This is a beautiful, low-impact use of local resources rich in history and charm. The plessis is once again appearing in household gardens and on eco-farms throughout the world.

Following on from previous happy workshops about edible basket weaving, living tipi constructions, this workshop will demonstrate weaving techniques on a larger scale. We offer you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in weaving borders and screens in the garden out of locally sourced shoots of mulberry, grape vine, chestnut, hazel and other prunings.

This workshop is open to all individuals, groups, gardeners, garden designers, and landscaping professionals. By the end of the day, you will have enough experience of this old technique to add rustic charm to your garden or balcony, or enhance the beauty of your surroundings with traditional and creative artistry, make elegant multi-purpose screens to hide compost or rubbish bins or provide privacy.

Willow wattle borders create a magical effect with towering flowers and herbs.In this workshop, you will learn about:

  • Permaculture designed screens for windbreaks, sun-traps and micro-climate control,
  • water and fungal control for grape vines.
  • woven edging to build soil
  • manage litter and fire-hazards
  • Beautiful woven chicken-protection around raised beds
  • species selection for living fences
  • pleaching techniques
    easy climbing supports for vegetables and flowers out of prunings
  • How source other types of wood often found in the garden or surroundings
  • How to choose and prepare the strong heartwood for posts
  • How to prepare stakes and garden edge for living fences
  • No-dig gardening techniques on heavy clay soils
  • Edge effect in permaculture systems
  • Tour the mature no-dig gardens at Permaculture Visions Demonstration Garden.


SAVINGS: Think of how much you will save in fencing and garden edging material costs AND save in having to bundle and dispose of prunings if you didn’t have a woven fencing project like this.

BRING: hat, gumboots, warm, comfortable clothes suitable for the current weather conditions  raincoat (yes we can garden in the rain and often farmers have to do fencing in wild conditions), GLOVES, camera, a little bit of determination.

Instructors: Permaculture Wollongong Institute lead teacher: April Sampson-Kelly 

Bookings: 0413539744