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Talkback: Colourful winter stems

I have Salix niger with really black stems and two alpine willows, a Chinese one that has catkins in the summer and a Japanese one that has fat stumpy catkins so different from our pussy- willow or grey willow. But I do love the huge pussy willow in my garden when it is covered in catkins and the insects do too. one of my friends has just given me a cutting of Salix lanata which I am looking forward to as its one stem and tiny branches are a beautiful dark burgundy.


  • Samuel.Samuel. Posts: 11

    I am currently working on and idea of combining darker Salix and Cornus varieties with Juncus effusus. The rush is quite prolific in the garden I am working on so rather than fight the brave sturdy things I'm hoping to make the best of their inky green and add plants with a similar winter form hence coppiced Salix and various Cornus probably siberica or elegantissima not that there's a huge difference between the two. The soil which is ideal for the rush (a heavy heavy brick orange clay) should work with the others and I am hoping that the rush should cover the ground enough to hold moisture during the summer as the it is prone to baking.

  • davids10davids10 Posts: 894
    in the afternoon the westering sun lights up a combination of cornus flaviramea with the red stems of a rugosa rose in front backed with the silvery bark of magnolia liliaflora-very tasty
  • I'm a contemporary basketmaker and I use of lot of colourful winter prunings from my own and friends' gardens in my work. It gives an added incentive to do the job and makes the pruning more pleasureable once you know you can make something beautiful and useful with the stems. My dream is to create a 'basketry garden' full of wonderful willows (such as the burgundy Salix lanata mentioned by happymarion below), dogwoods, phormiums, clematis, vines and even herbaceous plants like crocosmia and day lilies. It would be colourful, productive and tidy! all year round. Stella Harding
  • Whilst blueberries don't have quite such good stems as Cornus or Salix they are not a bad red, the autumn colour is good and you can eat blueberries!
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