Thursday, April 22, 2010

Here Kitty Kitty

Now is the time of the year when we love to add pussy willow branches to many of our floral arrangements and because we also have a good source of locally grown plants, we are blessed with some beautiful specimens.  One woman recently stopped in with huge arm loads of the funky looking contorted pussy willow variety which was quickly snatched up for some fun, contemporary arrangements.

Pussy Willows get their quaint name from the buds, called catkins, which is a take on the dutch word for kitten (pussy)...they do remind me of a soft kitten tail!  Also, historically pussy willow branches were carried by some East European peoples on Palm Sunday instead of palms because of the scarcity of palm leaves in the northern regions of Europe. Even here in North America, native Indians used the willow species to make medicinal brew since the plants secrete a substance similar to some of our over the counter analgesics.  Don't try this at home!

We are not the only ones who find pussy willow desirable.  A couple of weeks ago, while on the hunt for migrating waterfowl at a lovely wildlife preserve, I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole grove of these charming bushes.  These particular willows are the native American Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) and like their willow tree cousins are a moisture loving plant.  Sure enough they were flourishing amongst the cattails and duckweed in a marshy area of Spring Valley Wild life area, just north of Waynesville

The ones here are the "plain janes" of the family, but provide a host of benefits for many wild life.  Besides providing an early pollen source for our native bees and being a host plant for numerous butterfly larvae; the buds are quite tasty to several bird species such as Goldfinch, Grouse and Cardinals.  The shrubs themselves provide nesting sites for our avian friends as well.

Soon the furry catkins will pollinate, the stems will sprout leaves and we will no longer be quite as enamored with these fun harbingers of spring, but until then, here kitty kitty...

Field notes from the "B-Lister"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eco Minded Brides Repurpose Wedding Flowers

Wedding Flowers at the Hall of Mirrors

Occasionally, brides will ask us what happens to the flowers after the reception ends.  Since hardly anyone needs more vases in storage, renting the glassware for centerpieces saves both money and space in the basement. We usually pick up what's left of the decorations on Monday and frequently, toss the flowers or take a few home for the kitchen table.

Now there's a better solution. It's called ReBloom and is the brainchild of recently retired, Marilyn Aardema. Marilyn visits the reception site on Sunday, gathers up the flowers in buckets, and takes them home to re-arrange in donated vases. By Monday, they are happily adorning the bedsides of patients at Mercy Fairfield Hospital.

We love this solution and encourage newlyweds and their families to think about sharing the beauty. We are also happy to be a depository of unwanted vases that we can share with Marilyn. Another pleasant thought--since Rebloom is a not-for-profit organization donating flowers and time, you may be able to take a tax deduction for your flowers. Check with your accountant for information.