2 ways to bring the beauty of spring into your home


Brr ... More snow last night and 25 mph winds continue on this day in February.

I'm craving spring. And since it's not happening for a while in Michigan, it's time to take action: orcing buds on branches and adding art.


2 ideas to invite the splendor of nature into your home


  1. Add spring-like art.


I became attached to these soft puffy buds twenty years ago when my husband's 86-year-old Aunt Ruth snipped a few branches from her bush in Iowa City, and toted them six hours to our place in Holland, just so we could enjoy their spring beauty.


After placing the pussy willows in water, I let the roots flourish and planted the branches in my yard. Now the bush is too big to wrap my arms around it - just like my memoires of Ruth with her big personality and thoughtfulness.


A small piece of art, like 'Aunt Ruth's Pussy willows,' is the perfect way to achieve the feeling of instant spring in your home.


2. Force buds to bloom in your home

It's easy to trick pussy willows into thinking its spring. So when winter gets too long I snip a few branches and bring them indoors.



Small to oversize large Original oil paintings by Kate Moynihan

To force the buds to open, I simply plunk them in lukewarm water. Without fail, in a few days I have buds.


I'm lucky to have Aunt Ruth's hardy fool-proof specimen. But because there's more than 400 varieties of pussy willows I've include a more technical approach to tricking pussy willow buds to flourish:

A gardener's approach to force pussy willows to bloom, here's an excerpt from The Spruce:


1. Watch for swelling at the nodes along the branches of pussy willows. This is the first indication of the catkins (buds) to come. If possible, pick a day with temperatures above freezing to begin the process.



2.Cut a length of a branch about 2 feet long. Repeat for as many branches as you desire. Place the bottoms of the branches in a vase filled with lukewarm water.


3.With their ends thus submerged, cut about 1 inch off the bottoms. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake into the branches. If you can add a floral preservative to the water, so much the better.


4.Now, wrap the exposed areas of the branches in damp newspaper or cloth to preserve humidity. Place the vase in a cool, dark spot for a day or two, until the stems begin to show color.


5. Remove the newspaper or cloth. Place the vase in a cool spot (60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit) in indirect sun. Mist the branches occasionally until the pussy willow catkins appear.


Pussy willows are easy and fun, but you can also collect branches of these flowering trees and bushes.

  • Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)– Cut in early January, forcing time is 1-3 weeks, blooms last 7 days.

  • Flowering Plum (Prunus spp.) – Cut in late January, forcing time is 3-4 weeks, blooms last 10 days.

  • Flowering Peach (Prunus spp.) – Cut in late January, forcing time is 4-5 weeks, blooms last 7 days.

  • Flowering Cherry (Prunus spp.) – Cut in January to Mid-march, forcing time is 2-4 weeks, blooms last 7-14 days.

  • Flowering Pear (Pyrus spp.) – Cut in late January to mid-March, forcing time is 2-5 weeks, blooms last 7-14 days.

  • Japanese Quince, Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles spp.) – Cut in February to mid-march, forcing time is 2-5 weeks, blooms last 4-7 days.

  • Pussy Willow (Salix discolor) – Cut in February, forcing time is 1-2 weeks, blooms last indefinitely if allowed to dry.

  • Lilac (Syringa spp.) – Cut in early March, forcing time is 4-6 weeks, blooms last 3-7 days.

  • Dogwood (Cornus Spp.) – Cut in mid-March, forcing time is 2-4 weeks, blooms last 7-10 days.

  • Apple, Crabapple (Malus spp.) – Cut in mid-March, forcing time is 2-3 weeks, blooms last about 7 days.

  • Bridal Wreath (Spiraea prunifolia) – Cut in mid-March, forcing time is 2-3 weeks, blooms last 7-10 days.

Courtesy of: Fine Gardening: Forcing branches to bloom indoors


Are you impatient and don't want to wait for buds to bloom?


Then pick some of nature's treasures now.

Bring still-standing autumn milk weed pods into your home.

Their gracefulness will add texture and softness to the hard edge of winter.


Related article: The benefits of bringing nature into your home.