For a Rainbow of Color in Winter, Look to the Willow

Want to create a living fence? Or maybe you’d like to produce bountiful harvests of leaves and twigs to feed livestock, or simply enliven a winter landscape with fiery color?

There’s a willow for that.

Lisa Carper and Aric Vanselous have a willow for all of those purposes, and then some. In their trove of a nursery devoted to the genus Salix, they have several hundred species and varieties from around the world.

But that was hardly the plan. In early 2019, Ms. Carper was browsing online for plants that might work well at the couple’s former New Jersey property.

“We had a little wet patch on our four acres, and it was like, ‘What can we grow there?’” she recalled. “That’s what really got us interested in willows.”

Be careful what you shop for.

Pollarding — pruning hard, fairly high up on a trunk or branch, not near ground level — was originally intended to protect new growth from browsing by wildlife, while promoting lots of fresh shoots, but gardeners capitalize on its ornamental potential.Credit…Bill Noble

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