In Bud

March 9 budding 006

Dogwood and peach buds

The tightly closed buds on trees and shrubs have begun to loosen a little during these few days of  warmth.

A pear tree in bud

A pear tree in bud

The growth of new scarlet twigs has accelerated, and one day soon our shrubs and early trees will finally allow their blossoms and tiny leaves to open.

March 9, 2014 arrangement 004

The yellow  Forsythia began opening up overnight.

This is the perfect time to cut branches for indoor arrangements.  Forsythia, flowering quince, witch hazel, apple, peach, and cherry trees will all accelerate their opening when cut and brought into the warmth of the house.

Inside, in a vase, it is easier to appreciate the beauty of their blossoms up close.  And, when the next blast of winter comes later in the week, we will still have a bit of spring inside to enjoy until the storms pass.

This is the simplest of arrangements to make.  Choose branches with slightly swollen flower buds, and using sharp pruners,  make an angular cut just above a bud.

March 10 spaces 005

I cut our branches yesterday while doing a little pruning in the garden.  Follow all of the regular rules of thumb for pruning fruit trees when cutting these branches to force, so the tree is shaped and aided in its growth, not damaged.

I cut a variety of three different branches for this arrangement.  I used branches of pear, peach, and Forsythia.  Some might work in stems of daffodil or fern, but we’re happy with the sculptural simplicity of this cluster of branches just as it is.

March 9 budding 014

Use a large vase for branches 3′-4′ long.  Trimmings from these branches can be used in smaller vases.  Branches can  be cut, placed in water and kept in a garage or laundry room until they open a little more, or in a cold basement to hold off their opening for several additional days if needed.

I use warm water in the vase mixed with a little floral preservative.  The warm water speeds the opening.  These woody stems might have trouble taking up water.  Always re-cut the branches as you assemble the arrangement.

March 10 spaces 006

Make a fresh cut, as you assemble the branches into your arrangement, at a much steeper angle than the pruning cut. I often make a second cut, parallel to the stem, to open up a deeper channel for the stem to absorb water.

Cut a very steep angle to expose more of the interior of the stem.  This steep angle would be too steep for the initial cut which severs the branch from the tree, exposing too much living wood to disease.  Some people crush the stem with a hammer to expose more wood and aid the taking in of water.

I have had success with just making a steep cut before plunging the branch into warm water.  Be careful to remove side branches and buds which will be below the water line in  the vase.  These smaller side branches can then be tucked into tiny vases of water.  Nothing need be wasted.

March 9, 2014 arrangement 005

Place the arrangement where you will pass it frequently throughout the day.  You will find this dynamic arrangement of living branches changes hour to hour as the flowers begin to open and the leaves unfurl.  It will do best where it can get natural light.  The branches are very much alive, and will continue to grow for several weeks.  I’ve even had Forsythia root in a spring arrangement, and have taken it from the vase to the garden to replant it.

Pear blossoms, newly brought inside.

Pear blossoms, newly brought inside.  Bowls by Beth Turbeville of Williamsburg.

You may want to change the water in your vase every week or so to keep it clean and fresh.  Using a floral preservative limits the growth of bacteria, and preserves the freshness a little longer.

Our garden is in bud.  Newness is bursting out from branch, pot, and Earth.  Celebrate this season of fresh beginnings by bringing in a few flowering  branches to open inside, where you and your loved ones can enjoy them up close.

March 9, 2014 arrangement 003

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

March 9 budding 005

Peach buds

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

8 responses to “In Bud

  1. He was alone, so grateful no one else was hurt,

  2. Nice, my wife does this from time to time 🙂 wonderful post!

    I am playing catch up with blog, email and comments. Been over a week, we lost our son in law to a freak accident. He was 29, married to my daughter for 10 years, he was like my own son. We all love him dearly and will miss him!

    I hope you and your family are doing fine, especially that grandbaby!!
    Michael 🙂

    • Michael, am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son in law. How terrible. I wondered what had you distracted from being online. Our love to your daughter and the entire family. I know you think of him and miss him every day. We are fine- including grand baby. I’m also behind on visiting friends’ blogs. Am staying quite busy here organizing a spring art show in the community.

      Our thoughts and prayers are with you all, Hugs, WG

  3. indoor buds
    wonderful ! 🙂

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