Monday, February 11, 2008

Time to Force Forsythia and Pussy Willows



Though spring is a ways away yet, there are some things you can do to bring a bit of it along a little sooner. One winter, I forced some Narcissus bulbs and loved their sweet white blooms. But Romie absolutely hated their smell and asked me not to do that again, so I haven't.

But we both love the bouquets of forsythia and pussy willows that February brings. Even though the temperature is 8° (F), both the forsythia and willows are sporting swollen buds, poised for warmer temperatures when they'll burst into bloom, announcing spring's arrival.

It's plenty warm in the house though, so I went outside and cut a few branches of both the forsythia and pussy willow (Salix chaenomeloides) to bring inside where they'll be fooled into thinking it's spring already. I only cut a few because we'd done major pruning last year and I didn't want to cut so many that both shrubs appeared to have holes. I soaked them for a short time in lukewarm water in the bathtub, then placed them in water in a vase. In a few days, they'll open up and we'll enjoy their cheery yellow flowers and fuzzy pussy toes.

We have a Japanese Fantail Willow (Salix sachalinensis 'Sekka') shown in the garden in the photo at the top of the post and at right), which gets those little fuzzy pussy toes too, although they're a little smaller than the regular pussy willow's. What this Salix really excels at though, is its form. Many of its branches are fasciated and curled, making for an interesting addition to floral arrangements. I cut two of these to add to the forsythia and pussy willow cuttings.

This is what I ended up with, and within a week, the buds should have opened. I'll post another picture when that happens!


10 comments:

Rosehaven Cottage said...

The arrangement looks beautiful even without the buds being open. I can't wait to see it when it "blooms"!

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Louise said...

Glad to see the fantail pussy willow took root in the garden. I think that was the one I brought back from the Phidelphia Flower Show. Looks like it is multiplying.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I will look forward to seeing the sprays of color when all are blooming in your bouquet. It is charming as it stands.

Kylee said...

Cindy ~ I like it like this, too! It's not going to be a real dramatic change, I don't think, because I didn't cut very many branches, but it will still be nice.

Mom ~ I'm glad it's done well, too! Thanks for giving it to me! It's always a conversation-starter and the kitties like to lay in its shade in among the 'Limelight' artemisia that's all around its base. It has a central trunk, so it's not multiplying, but it has grown a LOT.

Meg said...

Thanks for the reminder! We have forsythia all over the place and forced some last year. It really does help alleviate the dreariness of those last few weeks of winter.

And I love that mirror in your last picture--something about the dark wood. It's cool!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

It is so bitter cold here too. It will be interesting to see how much snow we get tonight.

I can't wait to see your forced blooms. I just planted a forsythia in the fall, I don't think there's enough growth to force anything this year. Maybe next February.

kate said...

It will feel like spring in no time in your house. This is a great idea ... I like the look of the fantail willow.

Meems said...

I love the things you do, Kylee, to bring the outside in. I am especially fond of bare or berried branches put in vases- yours are quite attractive without any blooms... but I know they will be pretty when they burst out for you too.

vonlafin said...

That looks nice, I may have to go out and get some forsythia to force. I don't have any pussy willow, maybe next year!

karen said...

Forced forsythia is one of the great pleasures of winter. For really smelly indoor bulbs, I think hyacinths take the cake. I like the smell, but not everyone does.

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