This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
When a new plant is brought forward, it is proper that some history of it should be given, for the satisfaction of the public The Salix caprea pendula, or Kilmarnock Weeping Willow, was procured by mo about six years ago, from Mr. James Smith, an old and enthusiastic botanist, who resided at Monkwood Grove, near Ayr. He was an ardent collector and cultivator of all varieties of British plants. He did not inform me where he procured this variety of Salix caprea; but as the species is common in hedges and ditches all over Scotland, it is likely he picked it up on some of his rambling botanical expeditions. It does not seem to take well grafted on other willows; I have therefore cultivated it principally from layers, which I trained up to poles. The plant is a most inveterate weeper, as pendulous as the weeping ash, though not so rigid in its habit Its twigs are stouter than those of the Salix babylonica, and it has large, broad, glossy leaves of a deep green color. It flowers very freely on the young twigs in spring, and is quite hardy, as a matter of course, seeing the Salix caprea is as hardy a plant as we have in this country.
The name Kilmarnock Weeping Willow has been given to the plant to distinguish it from other weeping willows, such as the American Weeping Willow, sent out by Mr. Rivers some years ago. All who have seen the original specimen plant in the nursery here are very much delighted with it, and I trust it will be approved of by the public generally. - Thos. Lang, Kilmarnock, in London Gardener's Chronicle.
The Weeping Willow has a romantic history. The first scion was sent from Smyrna, in a box of figs, to Alexander Pope. General Clinton brought a shoot, from Pope's tree, to America, in the time of the Revolution, which, passing into the hands of John Parke Custis, was planted on his estate, in Virginia, thus becoming the progenitor of the Weeping Willow in this country.
Our old, common, and well-known Weeping Willow, like too many other trees that are familiar to all, yet deserves the attention of every planter of weeping trees. It may be that because we have so often watched the willow droop and dip its branches in the water of some stream or lake, seeming as it were to sympathize with and kiss the sparkling drops that it disturbed as the gentle winds swayed its tresses of light and elegant foliage, we have come to love it, and regard no water landscape as complete without the graceful flowing lines of the old Babylonian Willow. From long usage it has come to be associated with either water or the sadness of life - in the one case indicative of a marshy region or stream of water, in the other of the last resting-place of friends once on earth. Beautiful as it is in itself, however, these very associations preclude its introduction into almost any suburban or even extended country place. By the side of a spring at the foot of a hill, or bordering a stream where crossed by a bridge, or in large grounds, shading almost entirely from view the under-gardener's house, are some of the places where its position produces a satisfactory effect; but it planted near where art and architecture have combined to give a tone of grandeur and magnificence, its form of outline and waving spray seem rather to weaken than add to the appearance of cultivation and refinement.
Fig. 42. - American, or Fountain Willow.