Little reminds us more quickly of nature's rejuvenating qualities than watching fat buds burst forth into delicate bloom. Even if you don't have a garden, chances are you have access to shrubs and trees. When you start paying attention to what is budding in the landscape, you'll likely see all kinds of gnarled and colorful twigs that in the beginning will add stark loveliness to your home and, in a few weeks, will be holding forth with lovely bloom. At a glance, here's what to do:
Cut branches with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Choose branches with fat buds; cut at the warmest part of the day.With a sharp knife, make a slit an inch or two deep in the end of the branch or pound the end with a hammer. This increases the branch's capacity to take water up into the buds.Lay the branches in warm water for about four hours, and then transfer to a vase or bucket of warm water. Trim away any twigs or leaves that are under water. Change the water (room temperature is fine) every few days to keep it fresh, until the buds burst into bloom.For more reading on the subject, try "Forcing, etc.," Workman Publishing, 1999. The book gives lots of useful information on forcing everything from bulbs to branches.
A variety of Web sites can offer guidance, including:
Source: Scripps Howard News Service