My forsythia are blooming...
Since a lot of us Wintersow to help satisfy our spring fever, I'll share a way to help further dispel the doldrums: Forcing branches!
Unlike bulb forcing, forcing the branches of flowering trees and shrubs is relatively quick and easy.
1) On a day that's above freezing, find your favorite spring flowering shrub and pluck off some branches. Be sure to cut them at a 45 degree angle. Pick ones that are full of flower buds, which are fatter than leaf buds. Find some that are at least a foot and a half long (You can cut them shorter if need be. I like them tall.) Pick a dozen or more because fewer than that tends to make a puny display.
2) Bring them home and submerge them completely warm (100 degrees) water for about 12-24 hours. I cut mine in the morning and let them soak overnight in the bathtub.
3) Cut the ends with your pruners and place them in a large vase or bucket. Cover them with a plastic garbage bag to keep up the humidity. Place them in a cool (65 degrees max) area away from direct sun until the buds begin to fatten and break. Then, cut them again, arrange them as desired. Make sure that there are no submerged twigs.
4) Every other day, cut the branches a little to keep the water flowing into them. Add some bleach and lemon-lime soda to keep bacteria away or some floral preservative. The display last 10 to 14 days!
If you cut them every two weeks until spring, you'll never lack flowers! Plus, if you make pruning cuts you can also improve the structure of the tree as a bonus.
Forsythia are the easiest to force so try them first if you need encouragement. Here are a list of other shrubs and trees to try.
Magnolia (Tulip Tree)