Friday, March 05, 2010
Giving spring a little nudge
From last year.
Forcing branches is one of the most time-honored ways to create blooms inside during winter. I think many more gardeners are familiar with this type of forcing than they are with, say, using hyacinth glasses.
For one thing, it’s easier. There’s no chilling period; one need only cut the branches when the buds are properly matured—say a couple months before they would ordinarily bloom—and bring them inside. Then, a brief soak in water and some time in a vase—voila. Flowering branches.
I am not a big fan of forsythia (too harsh a yellow and a boring plant the rest of the year) and so don’t have any bushes, but I do have a cherry tree that I barely tolerate for its gorgeous May display. In March, I always cut a few short branches for forcing. I bring them in, soak them (submersing the entire branch) in warm water for 8 hours or so, and then put them in a vase in a sunny spot. It takes 2-3 weeks. I’ve seen much fussier directions for branch forcing on various websites, but this simple technique works for me.
I also notice that the websites rarely mention cherry branches. Can’t imagine why—works every time for me.