8 May 2020

Grey willow has a romantic place in my heart

Bruce Langridge

Every now and again, a tree will do something magical to catch our attention.

I must have walked past this grey willow Salix cinerea dozens of times over the years and not once had I paid it any attention. But I’ve just visited Waun Las National Nature Reserve to monitor the condition of our new hay meadows and I noticed it for the first time on Cae Calc, a big open sloping pasture.

Was it the fresh leaves?

Was it the perfect shape of a tree species that I normally think of as straggly?

Was it the beautiful sunshine?

Or was it the impoverished eyes of a man who has been in lockdown for 4 weeks?

Grey willow also has a romantic place in my heart. When I married my wife Billie on June 1st 2013 in rural Carmarthenshire, the fluffy white catkins of grey willow blew across our outdoor wedding ceremony, a beautiful natural confetti.