27 March 2009

GARDEN GATE: Forcing Blossoms on Branches

Do you need to prune your cherry tree or your quince shrub? Do you have a forsythia about to burst open into lightning-bug-yellow blooms? You can hasten Spring if you cut some branches from a flowering tree or shrub and bring them indoors. It's easy:
• Cut branches. (I've forced cherry, quince, and crab apple, but you might also try dogwood, gooseberry, or forsythia.)
• Place them in a vase of warm water in a sunny spot.
• Watch the buds fatten, and the blossoms and leaves unfurl.
• Get a whiff of early Spring!

At first, the branches look a bit bare. My friend Lori called it "the Addams Family bouquet" when I first presented her with an armload of cherry branches, but now she's a fan. Just toss the branches in your compost heap once the blossoms start to brown or fall off.

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