Spring beats the season ... indoors.
For best bloom, cut limbs soon after buds begin to swell in late winter. Recut each branch an inch or more from the cut end and immerse it immediately in a large container of water. You can use branches from 1 to 4 feet long.
Arrange the clippings in ornamental containers while they're still dormant. (After petals open, flowers tend to shatter if you rearrange them.) Move the arranged clippings to a warm place. Watch the gradual transition: smooth-barked whips swell with lumpy buds, then burst into bloom. You can enjoy a handful of clippings, as in the photograph above, or a single sculptural branch.
For a succession of flowers, keep excess clippings in a bucket of water set in a cool place, so they'll stay dormant longer. When the old bouquet withers, bring in a new cluster of whips.
We don't recommed trying it deliberately, but even clippings left out of water for several weeks in cool weather have bloomed. If the slick layer just under the bark (the cambium) is still moist, it's worth a try.
Which clippings will bloom? Favorites include most deciduous fruits, especially ornamental crabapples, cherries, peaches, and plums; also dogwood, forsythia, deciduous magnolias (cut after buds are well developed), Japanese quince, redbud, spiraea, and pussy willows.
If you succeed in forcing early bloom on other woody flowering plants, we'd like to know. Write to the Winter Flower Report, Sunset Magazine, 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park, Calif. 94025.
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|Date:||Feb 1, 1985|
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