It’s hard waiting this time of year…for spring. Lots of us like to hurry the season by bringing in cut branches from pussy willow, flowering crab apple, and any other soon-to-blossom shrubs or fruit trees and “forcing” the trimmed branch to flower. Once it does, the branch — or several placed in a vase tall enough to hold them — brings us what we’re waiting for, the beautiful and often fragrant blossoms that have yet to appear out in the still- cold, early spring world.
There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on exactly how to do this. My grandmother used to bring in lilac twigs as soon as she saw signs of budding and just stick them in a jar with water. Her rule: the closer they are to blossoming outside, the better they’ll blossom inside.
But for those of us trying to get a jump on the season — albeit indoors — here’s some additional suggestions. Grandma was right about making sure there were signs of budding before bringing in any branch you hope to flower. Don’t be fooled: leaf buds will often appear a bit earlier than the buds that will break into blossoms. Learn to identify which are which (not a hard thing to do). (more…)