Forcing Spring Branches

Watching bare twigs come into spring bloom brings a soothing joy into the house. I often pick quince branches on January 1 as a ritual of the New Year. However, if weather is cold, results are faster if I wait a few days for the sap to rise in response to warmer temperatures. A kitchen brush and a little liquid detergent washes away grime from the bottom third of the branches, the part that could add bacteria to the water vase. Next make a fresh slanting cut and place branches in warm water with flower preservative and change the water once or twice a week. Slowly the buds swell, color, and come into bloom and each stage is lovely. Arrange the branches when buds are tiny as they are easily knocked off just before blooming. If your arrangement is set in a well lit area, color, especially of pink or red flowers will be most intense. Forsythia, lilac, dogwood and prunings from fruit trees are all suitable for forcing.

The link below gives an extensive listing of good plants for forcing and relative bloom time. A copy and paste is necessary and best to clear previous url first.
http://magazines.ivillage.com/countryliving/garden/your/articles/0,,284660_294157-4,00.html

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