Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


All photos except second from top ©Alan & Linda Detrick, Ellen Spector Platt design.
I saw pansy flats for sale at my corner store last week. Tulip bulbs peek up through the snow in my tree pits. Hellebores in my roof garden display full bud. The Philadelphia Flower show is in glorious bloom, an easy Amtrak ride from New York City through Sunday 3/8/09.

Since 1829, now the larg-
est indoor flower show on
the planet, over 250,000
people walk their feet off
through the 33 acres of
concrete flooring admir-
ing all manner of gar-
dens, arrangements,
plant competitions and
educational exhibits.
There is some immutable
law that every visitor
must go home with a
plant, pack of seeds,
book, vase, tool or shed.
Nothing seems as popular
as pussy willow. Visitors
to the show create pedestrian hazards as they manipulate long bunches through the crowded aisles of the Market Place.

I’ve often been poked by someone
else's pussy willow, and may have
done some inadvertent poking of
my own, until one year I rooted
the fresh stems and grew three
of my own shrubs, then had
enough to cut and sell at my
booth in the Market Place along
with my dried flowers and herbs.

Here are some other things you
can do with the pussy willow you
buy fresh at NYC greenmarkets.

When stems are very fresh
coil each one and lay it inside
a glass pitcher, building up
the construction. Three or four
stems will probably fill the
container and the willow will
dry in place. Buds of yellow
mimosa just starting open
will also dry as they lay.

Find a group of similar bottles in different sizes and put one stem of either regular or contorted pussy willow in each bottle without water. (below) The display will last until you get bored by it.

Make a pussy willow wreath on a metal wreath frame, cutting larger stems into pieces about eight inches in length. Use the finished wreath as part of a table centerpiece with sprigs of mimosa which will dry in place and various size eggs, both dyed and natural.


TC said...

I reckon I should get some pussy willow, but first I'm going to see if your recommendations for my orchid are viable. ;~P

If not, I'll be very "merpse."

"Merpse" was the "Word Verification" word and sense I'm an English major and love to play with words, I often make up my own and use them in sentences just for fun.

Anonymous said...

Never thought much about pussywillows until I moved to Boston. Always grew shrubs of it in Zone 7, but in a cold climate, the cut stems -- sold at the grocery store as well as at florists' -- are definitely a welcome sign of spring. Each February, my husband always suggests that we buy some. They do last a long time, which is nice. Rooting info is very welcome. Thanks!

Ellen Spector Platt said...

TC, Other Ellen (Ellen Zachos)is the orchid expert. This Ellen, who she naturally calls Other Ellen, roots, grows and cuts pussy willow for indoor decoration. So even if you don't like the orchid advice, don't blame the O.E.
Got That? Ellen Spector Platt

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Hi Judy, When I'm not trying to show off for a pretty picture, I stand fresh branches in an old coffee can half full of fresh water. I keep adding water as it evaporates. As soon as I see roots forming, I add a cup of garden soil, producing a slurry. For about three weeks I add more soil weekly and water so it doesn't dry out. The buds will flower, drop off, then leaves will appear. Plant outdoors about 8 weeks from the start. Each stem will form a large shrub so leave enough room.Like other willows, it likes damp feet. ESP

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