Pink Pussy Willows:  What’s Not to Love?

Pink Pussy Willows: What’s Not to Love?featured

It’s ultra early spring time here in the Willamette Valley, which means I have pink pussy willows (Salix chaenomeloides)—just in time for Valentine’s Day.  I love doing floral arrangements, and a few years ago, I realized it is essential as a home florist to have pussy willows in your yard.  I opted to put in two shrubs, and I selected two varieties that create the very rare and coveted pink pussy willow catkins.  These two varieties are ‘Mt. Aso’ and ‘Mt. Asama’, Japanese varieties that are named after volcanoes in Japan.  In most northern climates, these bud around April.  Here in Salem, I am a zone 8b, so these have been going strong for a couple of weeks now in February.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

I have observed these differences between the two:  Mt. Aso buds earlier, and the pink color is less brilliant.  The pink color is also more fleeting than Asama, and the catkins very quickly turn to gray.  This shrub has also grown much larger (larger than I want actually) than Mt. Asama.  Here is my Mt. Aso, after it turned gray:Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

My Mt. Asama has remained much smaller, more the size I want.  The catkins are also smaller, and a more brilliant shade of pink.  The pink color also starts later and stays longer.  My preference is for Mt. Asama.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

To celebrate Valentine’s Day and our love for pink pussy willows, I made a wreath.  It was easy, and it took less than an hour to make.  Here, I’ll show you what I did.

I started with a pre-made twig wreath that I purchased at a craft store.  I wove in two circles of green ribbon.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

I cut both the gray and pink pussy willow branches.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

I layered the gray pussy willows first, because I wanted to overlay the pink pussy willows to highlight them.

Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

I used brown florist stem wire to attach the branches with a quick and easy twist.  I used wire cutters to cut it.  I was able to bend and twist this wire easily with just my fingers.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

The brown is nicely disguised, and I didn’t even have to worry about it showing.Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

Lastly, I tied on the pink pussy willow branches.  Done.  This can be hung either inside or outside, and should last several years.  Enjoy!Pink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt AsoPink Pussywillows: Salix chaenomeloides Mt Asama Mt Aso

 

 

About the author

Stephanie Koski

Stephanie is a retired physician, mother to three boys, and an avid gardener with many hobbies and interests. She lives outside of Salem, Oregon, in the mid-Willamette Valley. Stephanie does all of the photography and writing for this website, and all content is original and copyrighted.

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