Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forcing Flowers

The hedge between our yard and our neighbor's yard includes a long stretch of forsythia. Every January, we cut a vase full of bare branches and stick them in our kitchen.

Gradually, those bare branches are transformed as the buds swell and then explode into a riot of yellow blooms -- several weeks before the branches outside bloom. It's a sure pick-me-up in the middle of the end-of-winter doldrums.

Want to give it a try? Keep in mind that you're basically pruning your tree or shrub -- don't cut too many branches from any one plant, and work for symmetry. And (this should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway) stick to trees in yards -- don't go hacking up the forest.

Other blooming trees that you could try forcing include maple, dogwood, redbud, spicebush, and cherry.

See if you can beat the spring -- or at least bring a little spring indoors!