February 24, 2009

Tiny Teardrops on the Weeping Willow


It is twenty degrees this morning and there's new spring growth on the weeping willow.

The willow tree is one of the first trees to emerge in the springtime. The green teardrops show no sign of damage from the cold temperatures. It seems too early for such lush foliage, but the willow tree always seems to come through just fine. The only time that I've seen the leaves damaged was from a late April hard freeze.

I was just reminded of one of the joys of growing a large weeping willow in the garden. In her recent blog story, gardening and writing friend, Helen Yoest, mentions how enjoyable it is to move aside the curtain of a willow that grows beside a path. I totally agree.

The large willow is at the corner, outside the cottage garden. The willow provides a graceful division between the cool colors of the outer front garden and the hot colors of the butterfly garden. Think of it as a room divider.

The front garden is planted primarily with blue, purple, pink and magenta. The butterfly garden, on the east side of the house, is planted with red, yellow, purple and orange.

A favorite bench is beneath the willow tree in the butterfly garden. The little bench is a nice, cool spot to take a break when I'm working in the garden. This curved bench is just the perfect size to tuck into the mass planting of red salvia greggii. The willow branches brush the bench in the breeze. This is where I sit to take photos of hummingbirds.

All of the birds seem to love the willow tree, too. From the high perch, they can watch over the garden and bird feeders. When the hummingbirds are here, they spend time in the willow to preen between sipping from feeders and favorite flowers planted in both gardens.

I have come to love my tree beside the garden path. The fast-growing tree creates a sense of maturity in my young garden. Planted in a low area at the bottom of the slope, it received irrigation during the fall of 2005 when it was getting established. Since then, it has been watered by rainfall. The roots are far from any underground pipes, so we are comfortable with growing this glorious ornamental tree.

There's something romantic about a weeping willow tree. Perhaps it's the movement of the branches. Perhaps it is the mystery of walking through the veil of green branches. Perhaps it is the willow's subtle announcement of spring.

Story and photos by Freda Cameron

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Defining Your Home, Garden & Travel

Home, garden and travel tips by Freda Cameron

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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