There is a tree in the neighbor's yard that stretches over their fence and intertwines with our ancient lilac bushes. I don't know what kind of tree it is, but in early spring, it has pussy willow or catkin buds on it. (I just looked up pussy willows and still am confused about what is in the neighboring yard. It's a big tree and not in a wetland. So - anyway...)
Two years ago the electric company trimmed tree branches away from the power lines along the back property line and left branches from the neighboring tree in our yard. I was very pleased to get several bunches of pussy willows without even trying.
Because this winter all the plants in our area are way ahead of their normal spring awakening schedule, I checked the back yard yesterday to see if the pussy willows have started opening, and yes!
I've put some in a vase with water (and freshly cut forsythia branches to force) and some in a vase without water. I'm curious how quickly the ones with their feet in water will open. Once they have opened just a bit more, I'll take them out of the water to keep them at the catkin stage.
Edited to add: I think I'll enter this in the last-of-the-season Making Winter Bloghop, hosted by Thrifty Household and Silverpebble. It's not a very wintery post, but then our weather is strikingly not wintery this year.