IN AN ENGLISH GARDEN. A FEW MORE WILLOWS. 244 THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS February 14, 19-51 X my last article I wrote about a few of the taller- growing willows. 1 So fore passing on to the dwarfer species, I would suggest that either of the weeping willows that I men tioned, Salix babylonica and S. chrysocoma (better known as S. babylonica ramulis aureis), are good trees to plant for giving a spot of shade on the lawn. They have the charm of inimitable grace, and the virtue of giving quick results. If there is no stream or pond at hand, you could encourage your willow by forming a shallow depression, a few feet in diameter, around THE NETTED WILLOW, SALIX RETICULATA, FROM THE SCOTTISH HIGH LANDS, IS NOT UNCOMMON IN THE ALPS. QUITE PROSTRATE IN HABIT, ITS LEAVES ARE ROUNDISH, RELATIVELY LARGE, AND HANDSOMELY MARKED WITH NETTED VEINING." Photographs by R. A. Malbv and Co. the trunk and letting the garden hose flood into it, copiously and often. By far the most brilliantly decorative willowin the matter of catkinsthat I have ever met was Salix humboltii. I saw it often in Chile, sometimes by water, but often in terribly dry situations. When in blossom its masses of brilliant golden catkins suggested a mimosa in full flower. I brought home cuttings of this lovely willow, struck them, and planted the youngsters in the open at Stevenage. Every one died the first winter. It is, unfortunately, not gener ally hardy in this country, though it might be worth trying in Cornwall and other equally gentle climates. There is, too, an interesting fastigiate form of Salix humboltii which grows like a Lombardy poplar. I saw this both in Chile and in Peru, though I was unable to secure cuttings. A few years ago, however, my friend Captain Collingwood Ingram, when plant collecting in Chile, brought me cuttings of this odd willow. They rooted readily, but did no good. Not hardy. The gold- and the red-barked varieties of Salix vitellina are grand for bringing winter colour to the garden landscape. I use the term garden landscape because this particular colour scheme can only be arranged in gardens which are roomy enough for wide plantings and broad effects. The method is to plant the willows as an osier-bed, and treat them as such. That is, you plant fairly close together and, by pruning down hard each spring, form ever-strengthening stools which will throw up during summer an ever-stronger forest of slender shoots, 6 or 8 or io ft. high. In autumn the leaves fall and reveal the willow wands in their fresh young scarlet or golden bark. Seen in the mass, in this way they make a most beautiful haze of glowing colours, all through the winter. In spring the rods must be pruned hard back, so that the stools may busy themselves during the summer in throwing up a fresh crop of wands for next winter's display. This annual spring pruning, or pollarding, is most important, for only the fresh bark on rods of the previous summer's growth gives the warm red and sunny gold that is so heartening in wintqr. The same applies to the scarlet-barked dogwood when planted for winter colour. Left unpollarded for a few years, By CLARENCE ELLIOTT, V.M.H. the twig-bark on both willow and dogwood becomes steadily duller and less effective. It is important, too, to plant the willows for mass effect. Not less than a dozen stools in a group to make a really warming glow. Among the dwarfer willows there are many attrac tive species. Some are very attractive indeed, either for their foliage or their catkins, or both. In fact, the only willow which I can imagine being a disappoint ment might be one which was expected to be a male specimen, but which turned out to be a female. As I explained in my previous article, the male and female flowers are carried on separate trees. The male catkins are golden yellow as in the Easter palm or pussy-willow. The female of the species, having no glamorous golden catkins, only dull grey- ones, is to the gardener a relatively dowdy affair. What it may mean to another willow I would not like to say. Many species of Salix, however, are worth growing solely for their grace, their gleaming, silvery foliage, or the cheery glow of their bark in winter. Some twenty or more years ago 1 collected cuttings of a beautiful, dwarfish, silver-leaved willow in the Alps above Val d'Isère. It grew near the mule-track leading up the Col d'Isère a track which has since become a busy motor-coach road. On the rock-garden it developed into a pleasant silvery 3-ft. bush. It turned out, however, to be a female, which was disappointing. I had set my heart on golden catkins in addition to the beautiful silver leaves. Some years later I found a colony of the same willow above the Col de Lautaret, took cuttingsand was disappointed. Wrong sex again. In 1950, however, I secured a male specimen. It grew in a swampy corner of the old derelict Botanic Garden at Lautaret one of the saddest spots, surely, in all the Alps. It is now a flourishing small specimen in an artificial bog in a'deep stone trough in my garden. One or two of its buds are already splitting, and showing a narrow gleam of silky silver, promise, I hope, of golden catkins in a few weeks' time. I have yet to discover the name of this elusive willow, which for so many years presented me, as it were, with nothing but girls. THE GOLD- AND THE RED-BARKED VARIETIES OF SALIX VITELLINA ARE GRAND FOR BRINGING WINTER COLOUR TO THE GARDEN LANDSCAPE." HERE IS A SINGLE STOOL OF THE GOLDEN- BARKED, CUT AS MR. ELLIOTT RECOMMENDS TO PRODUCE AN ANNUAL CROP OF BRILLIANTLY- COLOURED WITHIES. Salix lanata is my favourite among the medium-to- small willows. A rare British native, found in the Grampians, it forms a sturdy, branched bush, 3 or sometimes 4 ft. high, with large, roundish leaves clothed with silvery, silky grey felt. The handsome golden male catkins are up to 2 ins. long. Although it looks best and most appropriate near water, it does well in ordinary garden loam, and is a delightful shrub for the rock-garden if placed with care, so as not to dwarf near - by rocks and throw other plants out of scale. The Chinese species, Salix bockii, grows up to 8 or 10 ft. high, and, unlike most willows, produces its catkins in late summer and autumn. So far 1 have only met S. bockii as quite small specimens at R.H.S. shows, but there is no doubt that it is a most attractive thing which deserves to be better known and more often grown. Salix magnified, from West China, is a very remark able species, but, unfortunately, it appears to be rare in cultivation. A bush or small tree, it looks more like a magnolia than a willow, with leaves as much as 4 to 8 ins. long and 3 to 5 ins. wide whilst the male catkins may be 4 to 7 ins. long. I can only remember meeting this willow in gardens three or four times. Salix herbacea and S- reticulata, the two British creeping willows, are essentially plants for the rock-garden, where, without making any show of colour, they are well worth having for the sake of interest and a certain hard-bitten charm. Salix herbacea is a mountain species, and creeps almost in the manner of a thyme, with tiny, glossy leaves and proportionately small catkins. Salix reticulata, from the Scottish High lands, is not uncommon in the Alps. Quite pro strate in habit, its leaves are roundish, relatively large, and handsomely marked with netted veining. These two Britishers would be delightful on a stone trough garden, where they would be conveniently near the eye ofwell, of those who do not demand blazing colour all the time and every time. Once upon a time, long ago, someone wrote and asked me if I knew Salix boydii. He had seen a specimen on the rock-garden at Kew, and his description aroused my interest. I went to Kew and f found boydii, which, in spite of its being a sick and scruffy wreck, greatly inflamed my interest. Imagine an ancient apple-tree, between 2 and 3 ft. high, with roundish, felty grey leaves. A pigmy tree with only two or three branchesjust aliveand with one of its two feet in the grave and the other half in. In spite of all this, I got in touch with Miss Boyd, the daughter of the late Dr. William Boyd, of Melrose, who had discovered this astonishing little willow many years before, near Clova, in the Braes of Angus, Forfarshire. Later Miss Boyd most kindly invited me to come and see her garden and the willow. She had three or four healthy specimens, giants about 3. ft. high, and perhaps fifty years old, one of which she gave me. From that original gift plantwas ever such a generous garden gift I struck cuttings from time to time. But as boydii never makes more than about half-an-inch of growth in a year, the stock of young plants always remained small, and doubtless it. must for ever remain a very rare tree. Salix boydii should be placed in the rock-garden with the greatest care and tact. It should live among the dwarfest companions, and well away from the type of gaudy Alpines which could only look vulgar in the company of this austere little homespun Highland gentleman. Perhaps a stone trough rock- garden affords the safest solution. THE WEST CHINESE SALIX MAGNIFICA, WHICH IS A VERY REMARKABLE SPECIES IT LOOKS MORE LIKE A MAGNOLIA THAN A WILLOW, WITH LEAVES AS MUCH AS 4 TO 8 INS. LONG AND 3 TO 5 INS. WIDE WHILST THE MALE CATKINS MAY BE 4 TO 7 INS. LONG."

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Watersnood documentatie 1953 - tijdschriften | 1953 | | pagina 171