Curly W

Today I added some Curly W –  as in willow –  (salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’ to be exact) to my collection of ‘green goods’ growing at my house.  I happened to be passing by a favorite local florist and saw some earthy-colored twisted shapes with some gnarl in their attitude. One memory flash later, I remembered Curly W!  It is a specimen I have wanted to grow in a container since my garden days in Portland, OR.  However, each spring I always seem to forget about it  being way too distracted to look for something as basic as a willow when visiting nurseries.  Other times, when I have remembered its wonderful varied uses (floral arrangements, containers, nice shade tree given some age) I tell myself I don’t need to buy it at the nursery and will find some by the side of the road where I can take a cutting or possibly in someone’s yard and will ask for a cutting.  Non of these scenarios have materialized and eight years later I still do not have a pot of Curly W.

Today, I ended the nonsense and purchased a few beautiful stems from the florist.  I’m using Curly W right away as an indoor flower arrangement.  The branches are large, beautifully colored and interesting so they add a presence to any room.

They are in a vase and the branches will soon begin to ‘root out’ – meaning new little white roots will grow from the bottom of the branches where they are submerged in water.  These rest of the stems will develop beautiful small green leaves that will continue to get bigger.  Curly W really does perform as a living floral arrangement, continuing to grow and leaf out, setting the scene of Spring inside the house.   After a month or so I am going to plant the branches in one of my large outdoor pots and use Curly W as a backdrop and texture for a summer pot.  When Winter comes, Curly W will stay in the pot (needing a little winter mulch and a wind protected site) and become an interesting framework once again.  I might even put some Holiday lights on Curly W having it become a bright spot on my front porch or patio in the winter garden.

Salix Matsudana ‘Tortuosa’   – also known as “Curly Willow”, “Corkscrew Willow”, “Hankow Willow”, “Dragon’s Claw” or “Globe Willow.”

If you’ve been meaning to add a classic specimen (maybe even Curly W) to your gardenscape but haven’t, maybe this will be your call to action too!