Pussy Willows are the harbinger of Spring but for Bob Hastings of Southampton, they are much more than that.
Hastings came up with the original idea of how he and wife, Bonnie, could help with the local hospital MRI fundraising campaign.
He has been gathering Spring pussy willows and selling them at $4 per bunch. “They are perfect in flower arrangements or just on their own and they don’t need any water.”
Hasting’s neighbour, artist Peri Jolley, had a pussy willow tree in her yard that produced quality buds each year. “Peri generously allowed me to gently cut back the branches of buds,” says Hastings, “which I then cut into smaller bundles to sell, with all proceeds to the MRI fund. Bit of a stretch from a soft bud to a sophisticated medical imaging machine – but there you are!”
Much to the Hastings’ surprise, not only orders have been pouring in but people have simply been donating. Now, however, the supply isn’t able to keep up with the demand for the furry little buds. “I still can’t believe it,” says Bob Hastings. “Now, we are appealing to anyone who has a pussy willow tree or knows where some are growing that can be carefully picked to let me know. It is such a good cause and a new MRI is crucial to local health care.”
If anyone can help out, call Bob Hastings at 519-797-5698.