March came in like the proverbial lord of the jungle, and I’m not talking Tarzan. It was cold and snowy last week, but today the weather promises lambs. The Dog and I went out to hunt for signs of spring and he went for a swim. After a game of fetch the stick from the icy lake, we went on a willow walk.
I’m a sucker for Salix. I think I might love them all. Six years ago, when I was still living on a quarter acre, I ordered a fantail willow (Salix sachalinensis ‘Sekka’) even though I had no place to plant it. It grew in a box on the driveway until we moved to Poison Ivy Acres.
I once bought a florist’s bunch of golden curly willow, cultivar unknown, and rooted the freshest branch in a bucket. That plant lived in a plastic pot, also on the driveway, for three years. It is now planted just beyond the blueberries.
There is a large pussy willow growing down near the lake that I’m hoping is a native species and not the invasive S. cinerea that is creeping into Eastern Massachusetts. I understand that this shrub is crowding out native plants and wildlife. When the one that’s close to the water leafs out, and I identify it, I hope that it will prove to be one of the indigenous willows. It’s a large, handsome plant and it would be nice to be able to let it stay.
Why do we respond to certain plants? A hortaholic like myself falls in love with new ones all the time. Sometimes I’ll notice a particular group of plants and wonder how I could have overlooked them for so long. Where have you been all my life?
Today the willows call to me, singing songs of spring. I cut a bouquet of various pussy willows, and rejoice.