Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘spring blooms’

Plum branches forced indoors

It snowed again yesterday morning! The snow came down fast and furious and by 10am, five fluffy inches covered the ground. It was beautiful – again, and it no longer looked much like spring outside! Last night the temperature plunged to 19oF but today the temps are forecast to rebound to 55o and by Thursday, it’s supposed to get up to a balmy 70o! What a roller coaster ride we’ve had this winter! It makes me wonder what spring will be like!

Vase of blooming branchesThe daffodils beside the house that were in full bloom over the weekend look pitiful now; beaten down by the snow and now frozen last night by the deep cold. Oh well! So much for our spring blooms outside – for now anyway. I’m glad Eric cut some on Friday to take to our daughter in DC this weekend.

We do have a bit of spring indoors though. As I mentioned in my previous post, we pruned the fruit trees right before our last snow storm and Eric decided we should bring several of the branches of our Japanese plum indoors to force since the buds had already begun to swell.

We didn’t do anything to them except to make fresh cuts as soon as we got them inside and stick them in a tall vase of lukewarm water. There they sat on the fireplace mantle for about a week without doing much of anything. But gradually the buds began to swell more and more and after about 9 days the flowers began to pop open. Snow white plum bloomsIt wasn’t long before we had a vase full of beautiful white plum flowers accentuated by the dark brown branches.

Harvesting branches for forcing is easy and it creates some cheerful early spring color indoors. The best time to cut branches for forcing is when the buds begin to swell in spring. The warmer the zone, the earlier you can start harvesting branches.

The closer to their normal blooming time that you harvest the branches, the faster they will come into bloom in the house.

Harvesting Branches

Happily, one of the best times to harvest branches for forcing coincides with the best time to thin your spring flowering trees and shrubs!

Here are some tips on cutting:

  • Cut branches that are 2-3 feet long and that are heavily laden with flower buds.
  • Branches toward the top of the plant tend to have more flower buds than those lower down.
  • Flowering buds can usually be distinguished from vegetative buds because they tend to be larger and fatter.
  • When cutting the branches, be sure to prune to a bud or side shoot and make your cut about a 1/4″ above the bud.
Flowering quince are great for forcing

Flowering quince are great for forcing

Two Methods for forcing

Cold Method:

  • Place the cut ends into a bucket of snow or icy cold water. Keep them in a cool, dark place for 2 days.
  • After 2 days, re-cut the ends of the branches and arrange them in tall vases filled with cool water.
  • Set the vases in the sun next to a window and remember to keep the water levels up.

Warm Method:

  • Forsythia is one of the easiest spring blooming shrubs to force

    Forsythia is one of the easiest spring blooming shrubs to force.

    Bring the cut branches inside and place them in tall containers filled with warm water (90-110ºF).

  • Place a tent of plastic over the containers and set them in a dimly lit, warm room for 24 hours. The warmth and humidity will encourage the scales covering the flower buds to expand and activate dormant buds.
  • Re-cut the ends of the branches at an angle and arrange them in vases filled with fresh water.
  • Remember to check the water level in your vases often and top them off if needed.

We didn’t really follow either of these methods when we brought our branches in, but they opened up nicely just the same. I think they were probably far enough along that it didn’t matter!

Visit our website for a list of the Viette’s favorite spring blooming trees and shrubs to force.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Newly emerging Japanese maple leaves

Newly emerging Japanese maple leaves

This bumblebee was working the flowers on the Japanese maple.

This bumblebee was working the flowers on the Japanese maple.

I wandered around the yard with my camera this morning looking for signs of spring in my gardens. They weren’t hard to find! Everything is beginning to pop.

Even “Cousin Itt”, my Japanese maple, is in flower and beginning to leaf out with its tiny, velvety red, baby leaves. I spent a little time watching a bumblebee buzzing from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen. It’s interesting – I never thought of bees as pollinators for maples before.

The cherry blossoms are beginning to fade but are still   beautiful.

The cherry blossoms are beginning to fade but are still beautiful.

The cherry tree at the foot of the driveway is gorgeous now. It started blooming with snow white blooms a couple of weeks ago and now the flowers have matured to a beautiful blush pink. So pretty! They won’t last much longer though because as I was photographing them, it was literally “snowing” cherry blossom petals.

Redbuds are so beautiful in the spring.

Redbuds are so beautiful in the spring.

The redbuds are in bud and about to open as are the native dogwoods in our woods. The bracts surrounding the dogwood flowers are beginning to unfurl and soon the woods will be bathed in bright layers of white. I can’t wait!

My large tree peony is also in bud. I always look forward to those giant white blooms. They are just spectacular in May especially at night when they reflect the moonlight. We planted a few more tree peonies in other gardens around the yard and I am hopeful that some of these will bloom this year. We’ll see – we planted some really cool colors!

Peach blossoms! Hope we get lots!

Peach blossoms! Hope we get lots!

I also noticed as I was walking around that the last of the brown leaves have been pushed off the oaks as their new buds have begun to swell – another sure sign that spring is here. Time to get my rake out again!

Up in the orchard, the peaches are in bloom and the apple trees have tiny leaves and tight pink flower buds. The blueberries are loaded with blooms, too, so I’m hopeful that we will have a great fruit crop this year.

Mmmmm - wild asparagus is growing under one of our apple trees.

Mmmmm - wild asparagus is growing under one of our apple trees.

Here’s hoping we won’t get a late freeze but the long term forecast looks pretty good right now.

In our woodland garden, the fiddleheads of the ostrich fern and many of our other ferns are poking up out of the leaves and the mayapples are beginning to carpet the ground.

The early flowering PJM rhododendrons are in full bloom and the later ones are just now budding up. I love these hardy rhododendrons; the flowers are so bright and cheerful and they seem to last forever. What a beautiful sight out my kitchen window in the spring.

This is such a wonderful time of the year with everything coming up fresh and new, and full of the promise of the exciting season to come!

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

Fern fiddleheads are so interesting!

Fern fiddleheads are so interesting!

Mayapple makes a green carpet in our wooded swale.

Mayapple carpets the woods in the spring.

PJM Rhododendrons are hardy and very floriferous!

PJM Rhododendrons are hardy and very floriferous!

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: