Soon pussy willows, with their soft, touchable gray catkins, will be returning to the grocery stores and florists' shops. In my cold winter climate, those catkins won't show up outside for many, many weeks, but they are growing somewhere and merchandisers will be stocking up shortly to give us all a taste of spring. Whenever I see them, I wish once again for my own pussy willow bush. Having such a plant would not only provide me with armfuls of pussy willows for my own house, but give me the satisfaction of not having to pay for them.
There are many willows (Salix) out there--trees and shrubs--and lots of them have flowers in the form of catkins. But not all of those plants have ornamental catkins. Among the most popular ornamental varieties are the giant silver pussy willow (Salix Chaenomeloides), the black pussy willow (Salix