Perhaps there are trees as elegant as this, but certainly none more so. The wafting of languorous branches over a rippling surface is not only graceful, it is romantic. This is the Weeping willow, or Salix babylonica. Babylonica, refers of course to the famous hanging gardens that were one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It is a short trunked, medium sized, deciduous tree with pendulous branches trailing to the ground. It will fit most garden schemes as it usually only reaches about 30 feet, though it has been known to reach 50. It does not have to be planted by a pool, but the reflection magnifies the languid form. Another place might be some raised bit of ground or along an embankment where the branches can grow long and over hang.
The original weeping willow is thought to be from arid regions of northern China. This tree would not normally prosper in the more humid areas of the world. But willows hybridize easily and the weeping willows of today, which grow across North America and the UK, are the result. These willows like damp soil and full sun. The only caveat is that the roots are invasive, so plant well away from underground plumbing. This alone may limit its selection to larger properties.

There is also the Golden weeping willow, or Salix alba 'Tristis', a European native that does better at cooler latitudes.

Weeping willow


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