The grey-white stems of this willow punctuate the plantings in the Winter Garden.
Salix irrorata is a native of the southwestern Unites States, where it grows to form a spreading shrub with erect stems to 3m in height. Here it provides subtle winter interest, having slender, young, pinkish stems coated with a grey-white bloom. These contrast with the almost stemless buds, which hug the stems tightly, and emerge robed in a protective, black husk which falls to reveal soft, pink-hued, downy catkins. Here we treat it as a coppice, pruning the stems to ground level annually to ensure compact, neat growth, and to encourage a fresh flush of intensely coloured wand-like stems each year.