14 February 2015


Traditional Hand Hooked Wool Mat
in the garden with Hellebore orientalis

(a.k.a. "Lenten Rose")
now into their fourth decade living
in this writer's Shaw Island garden.
The 7" x 10" wool on linen mat was
designed and hooked by gardener 

and artistic needleworker, Marlyn Hoffman
Shaw Island, 1998.

01 February 2015

🌿 Shaw Island Pussy Willows for February 🌿

Salix harvested on Shaw Island, 1 Feb 2015.
Early hand-thrown Crow Valley Pottery from Orcas Island,

"Eggsit" by Guemes Island's Yvonne Davis,
 a trio 'blooming where they are planted.'
for G.E.Y.
This willow is familiar to those who love the botanicals of Shaw Island. According to Louise Thomas, Gladys F. Difford (1891-1988), who lived out her senior years on the island, received a florist bouquet gift that contained sprigs of this willow. Her resident son-in-law, John Nichols, planted them along the edge of his property where they have thrived with abundant moisture, and have grown to tree size. The trees are about 3 weeks early in sharing their buds this year, a special gift to welcome February.
      Nice to know the historical background; thanks, Louise.

Gladyse F. Difford (1891-1988)
At home on Shaw Island.
Photo by Gwendolyn Yansen
Shaw Island native, Susanna Larsen,
in the Hoffman family lower garden, age 4.
She's in the Willow tree grown from a sprig
cut from Mrs. Difford's Willow tree along Blind Bay.

Sadly, the tree was removed to let in more sun.
Photo courtesy of Marlyn Hoffman.
Favorite reference for researching Salix is photographed and quoted below:

Dover Publications, 1967.
Unabridged republication of the original
published by the Forest Service of the US

Gatehouse Garden Library.

"A striking and valuable cultural feature of the willows is their remarkable vitality, that enables them to grow persistently and easily from cut stumps and pieces of branches or roots.

      The willows are swamp or moist-ground species, finding their habitat from sea level to 10,000-ft or more.
      They don't have much commercial usefulness except in the manufacture of baskets and furniture. They are, however, distinctly important to the forester for binding shifting sands and for holding banks of streams in soft bottoms where serious ruin of agricultural lands may result from erosion of unprotected banks. 
      Approximately 70 species occur on this continent, while about 13 trees inhabit the Pacific region. They are of very ancient origin. Remains of these exist in the Cretaceous formations of the Mid West, while willows appear to have flourished extensively on this continent and in Europe during the Miocene period.
      With few exceptions the various species of willows, that, as a class, are nearly always distinguished as willows from other trees and shrubs by laymen, are exceedingly difficult to identify, especially before they become trees. When they have attained tree size most of the important ones can be distinguished by a careful study of their mature leaves, bark, twigs, and habit of growth. But individual trees are likely to be found which will baffle attempts at i.d. without a close examination of the minute characters of the male and female flowers and the tiny seed capsules, all consideration of which is here omitted. Such an exam requires a strong lens and a good knowledge of plant morphology."