I managed to get out to the willow block before they were all cut down. Its such a place of beauty when there is no colour elsewhere in the landscape. The favourite willow for winter colour is usually S. Hutchinsons Yellow, but this year S. Flame - yellow and S. Vitellina were all gorgeous. As I looked at each one I thought it must be the best, but once I stood back they all looked equally sensational.
I thought you might be interested in a comparison of the three yellow stemmed willows:
S. Flame - yellow has many small branches, hence it will provide a denser screen, but the small branches make it not suitable for basketry. Golden-yellow base, changing to red at the tips.
S. rubens Hutchinsons Yellow is very reliable for sensational winter colour but usually has some branching, making it not as suitable for basketry. However this block had beautiful straight branchless rods. Most of the rod is a rich egg-yolk colour, but changes to reddish near the tips
S. alba Vitellina is also very reliable for winter colour, is quite tall, and has somewhat heavy rods for basketry. It also likes a lot of water, particularly if it is allowed to grow. If coppiced annually, its water demands are much less. The sun came out for a moment, so this photo really looks golden!
If S. alba Vitellina 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 other shrub.