Monday, March 29, 2010

Forcing Bloom

This post may be a little late for West Coast or Southern gardeners, but it's very timely for Prairie gardeners.  Did you know you can enjoy the blooms of some of your favourite spring shrubs inside, now?  I'm actually late this year - I quite often force blooms in late February or early March.  Now, you may have heard of forcing bulbs - they are specially cold-treated to make them think that their Winter dormant period has happened; things like hyacinth are often available at the garden centres at Christmas.  Early blooming shrubs and trees like forsythia, double flowered plum, apples, crabapples and plums actually made their flower buds last fall.  They are all wrapped up and protected, just waiting for spring so that they can burst forward.  I've been out this weekend pruning our double flowered plum, and I've got a nice collection of stems in a vase in the house.  You can see the fat little buds on the stems.  In a week or so, these will burst into bloom and make an awesome display.  I'll post the blooms.  It really brightens the early, early Spring here on the Prairies when so much seems gray or brown, dusty and dirty.  I have tried this with lilac before, always with disappointing results: small flowers, odd shaped heads but still decent fragrance.  Give it a try!

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