Bursting into bloom……forcing winter blossoms (part 1)

There is nothing more spectalur than fresh flowers to brighten a room and brighten your spirits in the winter.   I’m not sure about you, but here in New England we have had enough of the snow and can’t wait for spring.  That is why one of my most favorite winter gardening tips for February and March, is to force dormant flowering branches. Branches are ready for forcing after a hard freeze.

                  Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia “Arnold Promise”)

                                

                                                          day 1

                                                           day 4

(one of the earliest blooming shrubs usually early March.  The fringe-like petals on these yellow flowers create a delicate, spidery appearance on the bare branches and add sparkle to the wintery landscape.)

It is easy, and fairly maintenance free….just Mother Nature taking its course.  These are some of the best woody plants for forcing:  corylopsis (winterhazel), dogwood, flowering fruit trees (crap apple, peach, pear,plum, quince), forsythia, pussy willow and witch-hazel.

quick steps:

  • use sharp pruning shears
  • cut on a mild day when temperatures are above freezing
  • select branches that have bumps where the blooms would normally emerge
  • do not cut branches that have a larger diameter than a dime 
  • take more than you think you need because some branches will not bloom
  • make a vertical cut in the branch where it was cut  about 1 to 4 inches long
  • put branches in warm water
  • remove any branches that will be submerged in water
  • branches should be a room temperature bwt 60-70 degree but not near the heat
  • change the water every other day to discourage any bacteria from growing 
  • let nature takes it course blooms will happen in days to a couple of weeks depending on when you cut

Happy blooming……….more to come!!!!!!

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