Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Orange Willows

Winter is a difficult time for me to write about gardening, so I have been delinquent with my posts. Looking through my recent photographs (recently saved, with cataloging, from a crashed hard drive!) I came across the willow, Salix alba 'Britzensis'. About fourteen years ago I started bringing home cut stems of the plant from spring coppicing at Kingwood Center where I work and sticking the stems in the mud at my home. The initial "plantings" worked very well for about the first three years and gradually my grove got bigger and bigger. Then we had a series of dry springs and I reached some gravelly soil resulting in a few years of failure, but eventually success resumed, and I finally exhausted my desire for more of these willows and this free and easy means of creating a little woodland. Now I just enjoy them.

This orange barked willow (Salix alba 'Britzensis' ) has been cut to the ground every year at Kingwood Center for about twenty years. It makes a wonderful shrub that is especially ornamental in the fall and winter. It was these spring cut stems that I used to stick in the mud in order to grow my grove seen below. 

The orange color of the bark is always tricky to catch in a photograph, but this grove of willows is very beautiful with the orange color covering the upper portions of the trees, especially when viewed from above in the house. In the foreground are the trees that were rooted about three years ago. The background is the front of a linear grove along a creek that were rooted about ten years ago. The ones that date back about fourteen years were cut to the ground once when I supposed I would coppice the whole planting. I later decided against that and the new sprouts are as tall as any. I think I will manage them more passively than I first thought after reading Ancient Woodland by Oliver Rackham.