for Spring 2019
Salix irrorata 'Violet Beauty'
irrorata = unwanted!!!
(some botanists are irrorational)
This is a selection of the Bluestem Willow with violet stems as well as bright red buds and petioles. We received it as cuttings from the Chicago Botanic Garden labelled Salix geyeriana, another Southwestern species, but with much more slender stems. In the Flora of North America, Prof. George Argus describes the species thus: "Stems: branches (highly brittle or not at base), red-brown to violet, usually glaucous, glabrous; branchlets yellow-brown, (strongly glaucous or not), glabrous, sparsely velvety, or tomentose."
The most distinguishing feature of this selection is the violet stems that have a powdery white (glaucous) covering. It flowered for the first ime in the nursery in late April and the catkins are female. It grows 8-10ft tall with very upright branches. Best if coppiced every 1-2 years.
USES: Great in a winter garden, winter containers and winter bouquets. The straight rods can be used for basket making and furniture if dried and as living structures if used fresh.
In early October the stems turn red and new vegetative buds develop.
Fully developed flower buds in September, they darken during the Autumn months.
In late October the flower buds turn red, then black and often will start to open in sunny locations during warm fall weather.
Here is 'Violet Beauty' in the nursery in early October where it was leaning away from a more vigorous neighbour that has already lost most of its leaves. Clean, green foliage even in this drought year; the soil here is only about 14in deep over bedrock, so I was surprised it did so well in this location as in New Mexico it is always found near water.
Violet stems with the glaucous cover gradually turning the stems white.
Violet stems, bright red petioles and red flower buds. A colorful show to end the growing season!
In late May this coppiced plant produced these colorful new leaves.
In late May the female catkins are their peak.
After coppicing there is an exuberant burst of color in the young foliage. Late May.
Previous year's growth are red and are covered with a violet, waxy coat that easily rubs off.
Young leaves burst out of winter buds with lovely bright green colors flushed red
In late October the stems are at their most colorful, the leaves are starting to turn yellow after several cold night. These nursery plants were coppiced in late April.
of Michael Dodge