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Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Published: 2/18/2014

IN THE GARDEN

Blossoms 
are there 
to be had

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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I miss the color pink. I miss the color yellow. Heck, I miss the color green. We have had record snowfall, record low temperatures, and record wind chills. How about some record blooms inside? Are you in?

Shrubs and trees that are full of blossoms in the spring are your target. They are still in dormancy for the next couple months, but if bring them inside, they will give us the spring color we crave.

Make them bloom

This a great project to do with the kids. Take a few minutes to get these branches ready to bloom before Mother Nature wakes them up. Wait for a warm day. Since we have had such frigid temps, wait until we are at least 40 degrees — the warmer, the better.

Don’t just clip one branch. Remember, we are going for record-breaking blooms. Grab an armful or two.

Strip off the bottom four-inches of leaves and small stems. Now, grab the hammer and smash about two inches of the ends. Then slip them in warm water right away. Keep the entire branch in the water for a day. The buds will start to take up water and it will trigger them to bloom.

Keep them in a cool 55 to 60-degree spot for a few days with lots of light. Then bring them back into the house once you see the blossoms plump.

Be patient. It might take 4 to 8 weeks for some blooms to appear. The closer they are to blooming in nature, the quicker they will open inside.

Keep the water fresh by changing it every week. If you start to see the branches slow down, cut off the smashed ends and smash the freshly cut ends. It will give them another jolt to take up more water.

Forcing branches

You can find some spring color under the snow. Dig around in the garage for your loppers and let’s go hunting for some color. Some trees are loaded with spring blossoms right now. Redbud, crabapple, dogwood, magnolia, almond, cherry, plum, and apple will bloom if we give them a nudge.

Some of the easiest branches to force into bloom are the first ones that spring to life when temperatures start to rise. The bright yellow of the forsythia are very popular and easy to coax into premature blooming.

Honeysuckle has white, pink, and yellow blossoms and is another easy one to force. But why stop there.

Witch hazel is another easy bloomer in the house. You might even see them flowering in just a couple weeks.

Others might be a little stubborn. Bigger blossoms like magnolia and lilac take a bit longer to show off. Dogwoods and redwood take their time but are worth the wait. You might not see their flowers until late March.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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