Signs of Spring

One of the first signs of spring in the landscape is the “blossoming” of the pussy willow shrubs. We have a few large pussy willows in our meadow and the late afternoon sun yesterday was brilliant shining through the branches.

The pussy willow will grow into a large, multi-stem shrub – 15′ to 20′ in height and between 12′ and 15′ wide. The catkins appear in the spring ahead of the leaves. Preferring full sun the fast growing pussy willow can grow in partial sun, and will tolerate moist soils.

The pussy willows are great in wind breaks, along the edges of the woods, wet areas, for visual screens, etc. The show the pussy willow offers is in the spring with the catkins. Once these are gone, the leaves come out a shiny, glossy green and it is just a large shrub the rest of the year. The fall color of the leaves is a yellow.

In the spring we cut the branches of the pussy willow and use in a variety of ways. I have a large pottery vase that we fill with the branches and branches from the red-twigged dogwoods and it sets in the corner of the family room. They’re also wonderful in dried arrangements such as swags – just use your imagination. You can put a smaller pieces of the branch in cut flower arrangements. If you do not put them in water, the life on pussy willow branches can be many months.