Need a jump-start on spring?

Grab your garden clippers and let’s head outdoors. For me early spring is the perfect time to bring in some good-sized dramatic flowering branches from my garden. I place one large Japanese crabapple branch in a heavily weighted tall vase on my mantle in front of the mirror. The buds turn into pink flowers and continue to open for a couple of weeks, and the effect is spectacular.

I also trim a huge armful of forsythia that fills the largest vase I have. I place the vase in my front bay window for all to enjoy inside or out. Forced branches make great simple arrangements. Some good choices of the branches that lend themselves to an early spring display are the following:

SHRUBS:

Forsythia, witch hazel rhododendron, flowing quince and pussy willow. 

TREES:

Bradford pear, japanese crab apple, cherry, pear and dogwood 

The secret to a long display indoors is to cut your branches just on a day that is above freezing and just before the larger buds are almost ready to begin opening. Cut large branches with plenty of buds; best results are obtained by cutting the branch on the bias. Place them in 3 to 4 inches of warmish water and add floral preservative. Change water every couple of days and place your arrangement in a cool spot indoors out of the sun. Once blooming, begins, move them to a brighter spot, but not direct drying sun. Many branches will produce leaves as well.

Some branches will be hardier indoors than others. If you have trees that will work for this project, start examining your trees or bushes in late winter and early spring. Keep an eye out or they will start opening before you have a chance to cut some branches.

I know that you will find great enjoyment in doing this. When friends visit, they are always amazed at the giant and beautiful flowering yellow forsythia that draws admiration from everyone in the room.

And there you have it.