First Sign of Spring – Pussy Willows

First Sign of Spring – Pussy Willows

One of the first signs of is Pussy Willows.(Salix discolor). I remember my Dad going out to the field to pick them up every year at this time. He never told me where his secret willows were and now that he has passed away, I’ll have to go on my own search for one. Pussy Willows are Native to  Canada and United States.  They grow in low-lying wet areas.  there are about 40 different species.Pussy Willow will grow to be about 20 feet tall and can spread about 20 feet.  They will need to be pruned, which is best done in late winter. They are fast growers and with ideal conditions can live up to 40 years.

According to Wikipedia, in popular fiction book Pussy Willow, a children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown (1951), tells the story of a gray “pussycat not much bigger than a pussy willow,” who names himself Pussy Willow after the catkins he finds around him in Spring.[2] When the catkins disappear with the passing of the season, he goes in search of them, asking each different kind of animal he encounters where he might find them. The animals all answer from their own perspective. Up in the air, says the butterfly; under a leaf, says the squirrel. Pussy Willow finally finds them a year later when Spring comes around again.In the book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, the character Imogene Herdman argues with a girl named Alice over which of them will play the Virgin Mary in their school’s upcoming Christmas Pageant. Imogene threatens to stick a pussy willow down Alice’s ear where no one would be able to reach it. She said “And it’ll sit there and grow and grow and grow. So for the rest of your life, there’ll be a pussy willow bush growing out of your ear.”

Pussy Willows are wonderful to dry and include in arrangements throughout the year.  I think instead of trudging through the wet woods I’ll go and buy a pussy and put in my back yard to enjoy year after year.

Bunch of Pussy Willows 

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