08 February 2017 by Roy Preece
To celebrate the Chinese New Year here is a picture of my Dragon Tree. Usually I like plants to grow naturally, but this willow would get too big. Also there is a long tradition of cutting willows in this way. The new shoots are allowed to grow for several years according to the size of branches or “poles” required; then they are cut again. The process is called “pollarding”. The poles had many uses in traditional country life and “pollard willows” were once numerous in the landscapes of English wetlands.
This willow in my garden is not a natural species, but a variety known as the weeping willow because as the thin branches grow longer they hang down like the long tresses of a weeping head. The scientific name for the variety is Salix ‘Babylonica’ from a verse in the Old Testament of the Bible. The Jews had been forced into exile in Babylon (modern Iraq) and the Bible says: “By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept”.