Pussy willow was always a feature of my primary school’s nature table. When one day a stem with black catkins appeared I was entranced and was determined to grow my own. I now do and always look forward to the annual re-appearance of catkins on my own plants. The black catkins become even more outlandish with the emergence of dark-red anthers. It is a vigorous shrub that, left to its own devices, will grow very tall. In my garden I cut the stems back close to the ground every couple of years which keeps it to about 1.2m tall. Leave it alone and it will grow to about 3m tall.