At the beginning of last week, I cut several branches—or canes, as they are sometimes called—of forsythia and weigela and brought them indoors to force their early blooming.  I did this for the first time last winter and was impressed by how simple it is.  All that is needed is a bucket of water and a warm spot to put it, followed by a week or so of patient waiting.

I put the canes in a galvanized florist’s pail and placed them next to the china cabinet in the dining room.  With its southern exposure—and lack of curtains—this room is the second warmest in the house (after the basement utility room, where the oil burner is located) and easily the most pleasant place to be in winter.  The branches don’t look very pretty at first but even in their dormant state, they bring a feeling of the outdoors inside.

Today, only 10 days since bringing them in, I noticed that the forsythia canes had started to blossom.  The effect is magical.  Even though cut off from their roots, the plants continue to grow and once the flowers start to open, their progress seems to accelerate.  It is like time-lapsed photography but in real time.

The colorful sprays will provide a hopeful reminder of spring’s imminent arrival even though they will probably fade before the shrubs outside come into bloom.  I suppose that if I got myself very organized, I could bring in a bunch of branches every week or two and maintain a steady supply of the bright yellow flowers through April.  Maybe next year…