Time to talk about forcing branches again. Let’s go back in time and see what was up here last year and then talk about what you can cut today……
If you cut branches from crab apples, Japanese Maples, quince, Amelanchier ( service berry), or pear trees today, within 15-20 days you will have their flowers gracing your mantel or table.
If you have less patience ,then go for some Magnolia ( dreamy dreamy dreamy ), Fragrant Honeysuckle (lonicera fragrantissima) Andromeda , Cercis ( red bud) or any Prunus (cherry) tree and you can catch a little glimpse of Spring in your living room in less than two weeks.
If you are dancing around the kitchen whining about spring like a little kid who has to use the potty then cut some Red Maple, Cornus Mas ( Cornelian dogwood) ,Pussy Willows , or Forsythia and brighten up your day on Feb 28 or so.
If you just can’t wait one second longer then I hope you have had the foresight to plant on your property one or more Hamamelis x intermedia, as they could possibly be in bloom now , and if not they will force in 1-3 days.
I have already started and have red bud and forsythia blooming in the house now, and magnolias in bud ready and waiting. Tomorrow I will brave the snow that is waist high to cut some crab apples, azaleas and callery pears , the latter of which smells horrible but looks awful pretty and get them going as well. I am waiting much later this year to try viburnum carlesii and lilacs and hope for success with both.
This week in MA we will have warm temps of 40-50 degrees which is perfect for branch cutting. I cut them on an angle and immediately get them into a vase of cool water, then place them in indirect light until they bloom. Because they will be in the vase for an extended period I add floral preservative to help the water stay clear longer and change the water completely every 6 or 7 days.
Once they are in bloom you can combine them with any flowers you get at the florist or market especially of you cut smaller branches, or leave them standing alone if they are large branches. Either way it is an early dose of Spring that is guaranteed to lift your drab winter spirits.