forcing branches

As the weather warms in late winter it is time to evaluate what damage the season has done to flowering shrubs and trees and an ideal time for pruning any dead, diseased and damaged stems or branches in the garden. As a reward, I often cut some branches for forcing into flower indoors. Forsythia is the simplest to force into bloom indoors at any time during the winter. But my favorite are the branches of the Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). After bringing them indoors I recut the branches and also make a vertical cut into the stem. I then arrange them immediately into a vase of warm water making sure to change the water regularly during the several weeks it takes before the flower buds open.

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