“Blossoms in January,” Ensign, Jan. 1976, 70
Coaxing the branches of flowering trees and bushes into bloom is simple and enjoyable. On a cold day, snip a few bare branches from the forsythia, flowering plum, bush cherry, quince, or any other flowering shrub or tree in your garden. (You may want to do this with branches from regular pruning.) Not all can be forced into bloom, but experiment with what is available. The lilac can rarely be forced.
With a hammer, mash about one inch at the cut end of the stem. This allows the water to be absorbed more easily. Place the branches in a container filled with lukewarm water. Don’t use water that has cycled through a water softener. Heat cold, natural water. Find a sunny window and watch the buds swell.
In forty-eight hours sumac buds will show green; in six to seven days they’ll have tiny leaves. Forsythia and bush cherry show color in seven days and are in bloom in ten to twelve days. Flowering plum will take about three weeks to bloom, but the tiny red leaves appear in two weeks.
Change the water at least once weekly and enjoy a month of spring bloom on cold and snowy days. Janet R. Balmforth, Provo, Utah.