That's why I tried to make myself a willow from a holy cutting, which I had from the church. Now I have a willow in my garden and it is a holy one!
Willow is a part of our religious customs
Years ago, a friend gave me a willow branch with roots, to plant in our block's garden. She told me that she got it from the church and that she kept it in water, where it rooted. I planted the small willow cutting and it grew into a strong and beautiful willow.
I kept thinking about that willow, long after we moved into the countryside, because I dreamed about having one in my garden and it had to also come from the church.
But what are holy willow branches? Remember that Jesus came to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the people welcomed him with palm and olive branches. Well, we don't have palms here in Romania and the only tree that has some leaves on the branches on that very day before Easter, is the willow. In our orthodox religion Palm Day is called Flowers Day, because it has been connected to an ancient Roman celebration of spring dedicated to Flower Goddess.
If the Palm Day celebration is earlier (starting April) the willows have fluffy buds, however if Palm Day is celebrated later (late April-starting May) the willows have leaves. On Palm (Flowers) Day, the priests break off a whole bunch of thin willow branches and bring them inside the church. They bless the willow cuttings by saying the whole mass over them once again. Then, every Christian gets a holy willow cutting and takes it home. Custom says to put it at the door, or at the gate, where ever the entrance is! I'm much relieved when I have one of those willow branches at the door, because it keeps the bad things away and brings good things in for our family. Imagine having a whole holy willow tree!
Willows can be propagated through cuttings
Since my husband and I go together to the church on Palm Day, we each get a willow branch, sometimes even more. While having so many plants to take care of, I admit that willow hasn't been on my "must have" list from the beginning. However, seeing the huge and beautiful willows that are growing in my neighbors' yard, they made me think that I've got to make me one of those!
I followed my friend's example and tried to make the holy willow branches root, by keeping them in a vase with water. The first year I failed and the willow cuttings just dried off. But on the following year, all four willow branches that I had from the church made roots. Consequently, I planted all in the garden and cared for them all summer long. Unfortunately, only one of them survived, but it was okay, as I was happy to have a willow in my garden. Maybe four would have been too much. A friend warned me to watch out because the willow will grow very large and tall, with a thick trunk.
A willow grows faster starting its second year of life
I managed to keep it safe during winter and finally, during the hot summer days. I didn't cover it during winter because it is resistant to freeze, but I had to surround it with a few thick sticks, in order to prevent any destruction coming from my grandsons or from my crazy dog, Minnie. Any of them could have broken it or just passed over it, since it was just a small and thin plant.
In its first year of life, my willow didn't grow much in height, but it became a thick young plant, with a strong trunk and leaves.
In the second year, it grew very high - a meter (3 feet) higher than before! It developed a few branches and started to look like a willow. Now I can say that I have reached my goal: I have a willow in my garden, that I managed to grow from a small cutting. But more important is that it was a holy cutting, which made the whole tree holy. Nowadays is more important than ever to surround us with holy things and with God's holy love.