forcing branches

For the past few years, I've forced branches every February or so. I did the same this year, but a few weeks ago when I was cleaning up in the garden on a beautiful March evening, I found a few other little branches strewn around on the ground, and wondered if they would do something interesting if I plunked them in some water. Did they ever! The spirea is pictured above, and there are teeny-tiny little buds in the leaves, which I'm guessing will turn into some sweet white flowers.
Some Japanese Cherry blooms are almost open, too. They're extra special to me, since they were blooming when P was born. Some great friends cut some of the branches from our tree and brought them to me in the hospital.
And I had heard of farmers sticking willow switches in the ground, which would then grow into beautiful willow trees. Now I can see why. These little twigs were in water for a week or so when the roots started to appear. It's been a little more than two weeks now, and check out those roots! I think I'll be starting some little willows in pots.
So go and see what you can find on the ground or in the yard, and stick it in some water. For woody branches, it works best to cut a notch into the bottom of the twig, where the branch was cut from the tree, so that it can soak up plenty of water. For flowers, try quince, cherry, forsythia, or spirea. I love the little fuzzy yellow willow 'flowers' (seeds?), and think they're gorgeous, too. I've never tried lilac, but something tells me they wouldn't work as well. Have fun!

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