Spring Countdown: 16 days

IMG_0210By Teresa Woodard

Snow still remains in my backyard, but that doesn’t keep pussy willow shrubs from bursting their trademark fuzzy catkins along leafless branches.

While these willow shrubs are easily overlooked in the summer, they present an unmatched beauty in the Midwest’s stark winter landscapes. As spring approaches, their stem colors of red, yellow, blue and purple become more vivid. And, their tight buds give way to downy blooms among the season’s first. Their petal-less flowers, called “catkins”, appear in silver, yellow and black and provide vital food for bees and other insects waking from winter hibernation.

Willows (Salix) grow best in full sun, moist but well-drained soil and open spaces away from the competition of other plants. New willow plants initially need consistent watering to establish roots, willowbut after a year they are fairly drought tolerant. Thankfully, willows are fast growers so there’s plenty of opportunities to cut stems to bring indoors each spring.

To learn more, visit the impressive willow collection at Chadwick Arboretum.

2 responses to “Spring Countdown: 16 days

  1. Chris Deacon

    Hello Teresa. Thanks for the “Countdown to Spring” posts – they’re all great! Also, congrats on your cover article for Ohio Magazine. Jill says you also have one I think in Ohio Gardener for which your mom did the photography. That’s awesome! Keep up the good work.

    • Teresa Woodard

      Thanks, Chris. It’s been a fun exercise to be on the lookout for signs of spring. I also appreciate your encouragement and welcome any garden stories for your part of the great Buckeye state. Thanks.

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