Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Gorgeous Willow Stems

The temperature or climate or ? was particularly suited to producing good colour in the willow stems last summer and fall. I have not previously taken much note of the stems of S. fragilis Belgium Red (Crack willow), but their shiny red branches stood out in the block:
If S. fragilis Belgium Red is allowed to grow to full height, it will become a huge tree, with invasive roots. However if coppiced every year, or every other year, it will simply be a shrub, like any other shrub.

The beautiful leaves of S. pentandra (common name - Bay willow) are a standout, but I had not noticed the stems. Their bright rich olive green colour was unique in the willow block:

Compared with the straight up and down rods of most of the other willows S. sepulcralis 'Erythroflexuosa' (whew, what a mouthful!) looks like it must be from a different genus. This willow is great for screens or hedges (eg. keeping the deer out), giving a dense coverage with interesting branches all year round:

We have another curly willow, but it is much more erect as a coppiced plant. It too is a mouthful: S. babylonica var. pekinensis. It is related to the giant weeping willow, which is called S. babylonica. S. babylonica var. pekinensis (also known as Curly or Corkscrew willow) is much shorter and therefore has much less invasive roots:

The big surprise for me was to find that S. alba Chermesina (Redstem willow) was looking as colourful as S. alba Britzensis. Jim told me they were virtually identical, but I had not seen proof. However now I am a believer! The plant in the picture below is a very small one, at the edge, where they weren't getting enough water:

I am going to have to get out into the field every year to see what other willows will surprise me.