There may be snow on the ground outside, but it can be spring inside your home. Even in the dead of winter, the blossoms of apple, cherry, magnolia, and forsythia can brighten your home with their delicate loveliness.
At the same time, the heady perfume of jasmine, flowering quince, lilac, and honeysuckle can scent your living room or dining nook with a breath of spring. The secret of having spring in your home far ahead of its usual time is to create an artificial climate that forces buds to bloom.
Blooming Woody Plants To Use
Any woody plant that blooms in the spring can be used. The easiest to force into bloom are the following:
- Pussy willow
- Crab apple
- Weeping willow
- Red maple
- Hardy jasmine
- White and pink dogwoods
- Spring-blooming spireas
General favorites, but more challenging to force, are:
- Mountain laurel
- Winter honeysuckle
- Dianthus or wintersweet
You can get an endless supply of suitable branches from your shrubs, orchards, neighbors’ gardens, and woodlands. The only requirement is that there must have been time for the buds to “ripen.”
Ripe buds have undergone physiological maturing, which occurs in the late fall and early winter.
An excellent way to ensure that buds are grown enough to force into bloom is to wait until after a deep winter freeze. This usually occurs late in January or early in February.
Select For Flowers
Select branches which are heavily laden with flower buds. The flower buds are plumper looking than the leaf buds. On fruit trees, flower buds have short gnarled spurs, which hold them in position.
Cut sprigs 2′ to 3′ feet long using a sharp knife or pruning shears. While you’re cutting twigs, you can help shape the plant.
If you wish, you can take more cuttings than you need immediately. They can be kept in a bucket of cold water in the basement for several weeks.
However, it’s better to take fresh cuttings every week for a steady supply of blossoms because the buds can mature more.
Open Up The Water Vessels
Pound the base of the complex, woody stems to a pulp with a hammer. This opens up the vessels which carry water to the buds. Soft, pulpy sprigs are not benefited from pounding.
Next, it is necessary to create an artificial spring, the secret of how florists have apple and cherry blossoms in their shops in the middle of winter. To do this, immerse the sprigs in lukewarm water.
This should be just good and warm to the hand. Five minutes is enough. This washes off the winter’s dirt and prepares the buds to soak moisture.
Next, place the sprigs, cut end down, into a bucket of lukewarm water in a light place. The temperature near the floor in the living rooms of most homes is about right. Or, if you have a thermometer, you can measure the temperature.
It should be between 55° and 65° degrees Fahrenheit. The sprigs should not be placed in direct sunlight. This would tend to dry out the buds.
Change the water every few days if it tends to get sour. A piece of charcoal helps keep the water fresh.
When Do The Buds Show?
Depending upon their maturity, the buds will begin to show color and blossom in a few days to a couple of weeks.
Another florist’s trick to hasten to bloom is to expose the sprigs to fumes of ammonia or carbon tetrachloride for half an hour before soaking them in water. This is done in a tightly closed container.
One of the thin plastic bags that suits come in from the cleaners is fine. Soak a cloth with ammonia or carbon “tot” and drop it into the bag. Put the sprigs in and close the open ends with rubber bands.
Household ammonia can be purchased at grocery stores, and carbon is the solvent in most cleaning fluids.
When the buds swell and start blossoming- they are ready to be made into arrangements.
44659 by Charles H. Coleman