Pussy Willow wakened from her cozy winter nap,
For the frolicking spring breeze, on her door would tap.
“It is chilly weather, though the sun feels good;
I will wrap up warmly and wear my furry hood.”
Mistress Pussy Willow opened wide her door;
Never had the sunshine seemed so bright before.
Never had the brooklet seemed so full of cheer;
“Good morning, Pussy Willow, welcome to you, dear!”
Never guest was quainter, than when Pussy came to town,
In her hood of silver gray, and tiny coat of brown.
Happy little children cried with laugh and shout,
“Spring is coming, coming, Mistress Pussy Willow’s out!”
This beloved Victorian nursery rhyme bespeaks the Pussy Willow’s significance as a herald of Spring. This distinctive flower thrives in the wetlands and produces downy buds called “catkins” (thus called because of their sublime softness, akin to a kitten’s fur). The Pussy Willow’s catkins are a favorite feast of the birds and its pollen and leaves provide ample fare for bees and caterpillars.
In the wake of winter’s thaw, children would forage for Pussy Willow trimmings to weave into wreaths for the front door. Why not revive this sweet Springtime tradition of old? If Mistress Pussy Willow does not frequent your neighborhood, you can likely find her at your local florist. You will also need a wire form, some florist’s wire, and festive ribbon. Secure the branches to the form with the wire, arranging and overlapping the shoots as you go. Fashion a bow from the ribbon, being to sure to leave some tails on your bow to stream in the mad March wind. And voilà, your door is dressed for Spring!
Now for a little creative fodder…
Source: Victorian Family Celebrations. p. 81. Sarah Ban Breathnach. Simon & Schuster. 1990.