I could not have a nicer neighbour than Anne-Marie who loves her garden and is a very knowledgeable gardener. To her the garden is an extension of her pristine home that needs just as much housekeeping. Consequently she views overgrown lawns, weeds and the leaves that gently tumble from the trees at this time of year as a visible sign that she is failing as a housekeeper.
Anne Marie doesn't know what particular plant she used but, traditionally in colder temperate climes besoms are made of birch or heather because they have the right amount of fine but resilient branches for the job. In Nova Scotia according to Peter Barrs and Joleen Gordon in "Older Ways Traditional Nova Scotian Craftsmen" (ISBN0-442-29628-2) there used to be a tradition of 'sheen brooms' made from a single pole of yellow birch where, instead of the branches being used as the brush head, the wood is peeled away in layers or 'sheens' to create the brush fibres, leaving the unpeeled part as the handle.
Technically speaking the 'Anne Marie special' is more correctly a 'swale' as it does not have a separate handle, this I discovered in the excellent " Encyclopedia of Green Wood Working" by Ray Tabor (ISBN 1-899233-07-5)
Of course, there are plenty of home made simple plant fibre brooms besoms and swales still being made and used all over the world but, it is rare now in northern Europe to find a person under retirement age who would think of making one for themselves, rather than spend their hard earned money buying something that will inevitably make someone higher up the food chain rich on the profit.