Spring Color in Winter: Forcing Flowering Shrubs and Trees

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forsythiaquilt

Many, many years ago after moving to Connecticut from the sunny and warm south I decided to cut some forsythia branches and put them in water hoping they would bloom weeks before the first color would naturally show up outdoors. It worked and I was thrilled! I love flowers. I love color. And as winter drags on and on the browns and greys that characterize our winters here when we don’t have snow on the ground can be so depressing.

How to

Cut branches
Place in vase, jar or other container filled with water

It is that simple. I have read that you should change the water every few days but I never have. I read that you should split the branches at the base up to 4 inches and I never have. I just cut the branches and put them in water. They bloom every time.

I decided to chronicle the process to share with all of you, my lovely blog readers (yes, even the men are lovely, so there!).

Forsythia shrubs

Forsythia shrubs

Forsythia branches 4 days after cutting

Forsythia branches 4 days after cutting

Forsythia almost ready to open

Forsythia almost ready to open

Forsythia a week after bringing indoors

Forsythia a week after bringing indoors

After reading that you can also force fruit tree branches I decided to give it a try. My pear tree actually requires radical pruning this winter before spring arrives so I felt no guilt in diving in. I initially cut four branches to force then decided to add many more a couple of days ago.

Bosc pear branches

Bosc pear branches

Five days later the pear blossoms are nearly ready to open. So pretty even at this stage.

Pear blossoms nearly ready to open

Pear blossoms nearly ready to open

Pear blossoms a week after cutting

Pear blossoms a week after cutting

Pear blossoms open at last after approximately 2 weeks after cutting

Pear blossoms open at last less than 2 weeks after cutting

Forcing shrubs and flowering trees to bloom in winter is a simple way to bring spring to your home in the midst of winter. In the south spring has arrived already, but up here in New England spring is almost 2 months away. Now I have a little spring to cheer me up for the last bit of winter.

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