Forced branches say spring is near

Beckie Fox

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Friday is Valentine’s Day. February 14 also means there are just 34 days until spring — the vernal equinox at 11:49 pm, March 19, to be more precise — and for keen gardeners, this may be a better reason to celebrate.

Bouquets of tulips or carnations are always welcome, of course, but cut branches of forsythia or crabapple in a tall vase says spring is near. It’s not difficult to take a few branches from spring-flowering trees or shrubs, bring them indoors and wait for the buds to unfold. It’s a spring ritual for me, and you can read details on timing and good varieties to try here and here.

Unfortunately, the first official day of spring may be anything but spring-like where we live. I’ll hope for no new snow and avoid tracking the march of blooming daffodils in Vancouver. For me, true signs of spring are robin sightings, maple sap running and skunks cavorting in the back garden.

Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) tree
If you have a Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) tree, try forcing a few branches into blooming indoors.

Grub lessons

It’s not all hearts and flowers in the gardening world this week. Savvy Gardening has an in-depth post on how to identify the grubs that may be lurking in your lawn and organic control methods to use should you find yourself inundated this season. Forewarned is forearmed.

Say it in verse

If you favour poems about spring over those extolling romantic love on this Valentine’s Day, you might enjoy The Poetry Foundation’s collection of odes to spring. Try reading these stanzas along with your favourite seed catalogues to make spring seem imminent.

Where to next, Monty Don?

Devotees of Monty Don, the revered British gardener and BBC presenter, have been bingeing on his latest three-part television series, called American Gardens. We watched it on an app called Dailymotion, but it’s probably available on other streaming services, too. Garden Rant contributor Elizabeth Licata has a cheeky review of the series.

Monty’s earlier series highlighted remarkable Italian, French, Japanese and Paradise gardens. Perhaps we should lobby his BBC producers for a sixth series — Canadian Gardens.

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4 thoughts on “Forced branches say spring is near”

  1. Thank you for your newsletter. I miss your lovely, informative magazine, but this is very welcome information. Talking and thinking about Spring is very uplifting. I have a Viburnum Farreri with lost of pink buds. So I will cut some branches and hope that the buds will open and fill the house with lovely scent.

  2. I find it difficult to read your articles because you have that share/tweet/pin/share/print/email column on the left of the screen covering your articles. Can you remove that or have it along the right hand or bottom of the screen.

    thanks so much

    • Thanks for letting us know. I’ve moved the sharing buttons to the right side from the left side. I hope this works better. To everyone who shares the articles on our site: Thank you.

  3. There are certainly some very beautiful gardens in Canada – the Butchart Gardens and Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton come to mind!!


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