just because I said out loud I was on hiatus, life dictated otherwise. On today’s calendar, besides hanging around to wait for the dishwasher repairman for the umpteenth time , I left a message for my future self to force branches. I always go ahead in time and do this when I first schedule an event that will require flowering branches and looking ahead I see a Grow it! Cut it! Arrange it! presentation on the calendar in February . During this talk I will bring a vase or two (or three) things that can be easily grown in the garden that people can use to arrange in the house. Obviously this is easier at some times of the year and more difficult at others . But I know the drill and to have the branches flowering they need to be cut today, or at least in the next few days. Of course we given that deadline , it had be below zero with gusty winds of the sort that take your breath away all day,….. uncomfortable to be outside in say the least. Looking ahead the week stays arctic cold and we shall end it with a grand nor’easter bringing us at least a foot of snow according to the latest models, so out I went.
I am always thankful i am a knitter and have many pair of warm mittens, lots of toasty cowls and scarves, and hats galore to make outdoor activities comfortable. I also kept reminding myself as I tried to stay on my feet that last year I was doing this while trudging through many feet of snow,
I have concerns about branch forcing this year. Many flowering shrubs had their buds already swelling on the branches throughout our very warm early winter. It has only been seasonably cold here for a very short time and the plants may not have met their dormancy requirements yet. Only time will tell.
In light of that, I cut only the branches I can reliably count on for easy bloom; azaleas, forsythia, pussy willows, honeysuckle, and then a few twigs of yellow and red dogwoods and some sprigs of euonymus that are evergreen. I will head out again next Tuesday to repeat what I cut today, then after that start adding other later blooming branches to the list ( like lilacs, viburnums and cherry).
On my way back in I walked by the pots of tulips that usually sit outside for 14 weeks after which a note again on the calendar will tell me to bring them in to start. This year I may actually postpone that by a week or two to make sure they were cold enough for a long enough time period to bloom.
In December I actually brought in this pot of ‘Golden Fragrance’ muscari that had already emerged and were about 2 inches tall. I figured, why risk it? Muscari in January are just as nice as muscari in February and March, and I was worried the cold would kill them and I would have none at all. By next week I shall have loads of fragrant blooms which is a happy thing indeed!