Blue Marble #2

The clouds were thick and brooding, save for the slivers of blue sky that cut jagged veins through the gray, giving the sky a marble look.  Soon the clouds descended and snow began to fall, softening the ground, silencing the earth.  Welcome December.

Forced Winter Branch #1

As Winter settles in, and we retreat indoors, consider introducing life and color into the home with something other than the standard houseplant, poinsettia or cacti.  Look no further than your backyard.  Force winter branches, like Honeysuckle, Lilac, Forsythia, Dogwood or Pussywillow.

Forced Winter Branch #2

Many plants are suitable, but some, like the ones mentioned above, break dormancy more readily – in as quickly as 2-3 weeks.

Split Winter Branches

Start by choosing healthy specimens, and be keenly aware that you are actually pruning the plant, so be mindful not to damage the health or overall shape of the plant.  Cut your branches when temps are above freezing, bring them indoors, and immediately submerge in warm water.  Make a fresh, slanted cut, like you do with flowers, about an inch above the original cut while the branch is still in water.  Split the base of the branch, about an inch upwards to aid in water absorption and mist the branches on a regular basis to avoid drying buds.

Forced Winter Branch #3

Keep branches out of direct sunlight, in a cool place, and ensure there is always plenty of water.  Be sure to change the water regularly to avoid bacteria and funky smells.  Then, sit back and observe the wonder of nature unfold in your very own home.  Arrangements have never been quite as beautiful or unexpected – marvels to behold.

“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.  In spring, summer and fall, people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”

-Ruth Stout

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney