Fantailed Pussy Willows

Fantailed Pussy Willows starting to bud in 3' of snow.

Fantailed Pussy Willows starting to bud in 3′ of snow.

I decided today was the day to trudge through the snow and cut some pussy willows to force indoors. I have two Fantail Pussy Willow bushes (Salix udensis ‘Sekka’ – Japanese Fantail or Dragon Willow) that I started from cuttings off a neighbor’s bush. They are about 5 years old and perfectly happy in a rather boggy bed next to the patio.

The branches flatten and curl in the most unexpected ways!

The branches flatten and curl in the most unexpected ways!

Every spring I cut the plants back severely (maybe 10″ from the ground), harvesting the wonderfully contorted and curled branches to force indoors. Once the catkins have popped open, I remove the water from the vase and just let them dry. When it is time to start forcing quince or forsythia, I retire the dried willow to a big bucket I have in the cellar. One of these days, I intend to use them as the spokes for a fabulous basket.

Set in a bucket of water, this year's cuttings will probably set the catkins within a week or so.

Set in a bucket of water, this year’s cuttings will probably set the catkins within a week or so.

 

When I looked on the internet for the Latin name of this plant, I came across a web site that bears further investigation: http://www.bluestem.ca. They list a US address as well as Canadian so this might just be a great source for a huge variety of willow!

About Susan Guagliumi

I am an author, craftsperson and a gardener. My proposal for a book tentatively titled "The Artful Gardener" was just accepted by Stewart, Tibori and Chang Publishers. Although this will be my fifth book, it is the first outside the area of hand/machine knitting. The manuscript is due early in 2013 and the book is scheduled for Spring of 2014. A somewhat longer process than giving birth to a child, embarking on an author's journey can be just as daunting, exciting and almost as fulfilling.
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