Barbara always seems to manage to have something blooming in her house, year round. I never understood this, being the garden neophyte I am. Then I watched her in action with her forsythia.
Here’s BB on forcing and some winter action in the garden:
“Remember that even in winter warm days will stimulate some sap flow, so rain or shine, cutting your branches on days when the temperature is above freezing will hasten your hoped for display. And while you’re out there see if you can find some moss, that green green greenness will cheer you up. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to forget about your garden. It’s a wonderful time to prune anything, and if your victim is a spring blooming tree or shrub, bring some nicely shaped branches indoors for early bloom. Forsythia and flowering quince are particularly easy and generous, but be adventurous! At the very least those bare branches will sprout beautiful green leaves.
One can simply cut, put in water and wait. Forsythia can be in bloom in as little as 2 weeks depending on the forcing temperature and the time of year. Some people object to its color in the landscape but it’s hard to argue with its cheerful abundance in January, or February or March or, for that matter, November and December. The plant needs only a couple of weeks of chilling temps to break dormancy.
Quince (Chaenomeles) will take longer to open its blossoms, up to a month, but its branching pattern is so interesting, so spare and oriental in feeling, that you will hardly notice. You can also entertain yourself by watching as the buds swell and color up day by day.
Winter is also a great time to note where an evergreen or two would be a welcome addition to your landscape. While often taking a back seat at more exuberant times of the year, the spare white (or brown) of winter highlights their ability to structure and ground other plantings. Frozen ground may prevent setting stakes, but a terra cotta pot or stone ornament will stay put and look attractive until planting season arrives.”