Simple Pleasures: Spring Pussy Willows


When I was a little girl, we didn’t live on a real farm, but to me it kind of felt like we did.  We usually had a garden – some years bigger, some years smaller. We had a dog and generally a cat or two, depending on how many were hanging around when my mom put cat food on the back porch.  We had a small creek at the end of our backyard that we sometimes played in, depending on how deep – or how clean – it was at the time. And it seemed like we were always growing something, whether it was transplanting a shrub to a better location or putting our live Christmas tree in the ground in the spring.  Dad would often (and still does) start new plants from offshoots of a current plant.  That’s how we came to have three large pussy willow trees.

I loved it when the pussy willows opened up in the spring. Dad would cut down several branches full of pussy willow buds and put them in a large vase in the house.  He would set them near a window for sunlight where we could watch the buds open up even more. I loved feeling the soft furry buds as they blossomed! Eventually, tiny root strings would appear at the bottom of the branches, a sign that perhaps we could plant these in the ground and they too would grow into long-standing trees in our yard. Not all of them survived, but enough did that we always had pussy willow trees at our house, until we moved to another place.

A few years ago I purchased a small pussy willow tree at a local produce auction. I was so excited to finally have one of my own! Each year it gets just a little bigger and just a few more fuzzy buds open up than the year before. Today the sun is shining and the air is a bit warmer, so my pussy willows are in full bloom. I couldn’t resist cutting just one branch (since there aren’t very many yet) and bringing it in the house to enjoy.  And of course, I have placed it in some water, hoping that perhaps some tiny root strings will soon appear and I can plant another tree.

So as these first sweet days of spring come to us, I hope you will find time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life – maybe even some spring pussy willows!