Years ago I scored several forsythia shrubs at the Wellesley Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF) yard waste area. I took the small woody shrubs home and planted them at the edge of the woods, knowing it wouldn’t take long for an unruly stand of the early spring bloomers to take hold. Every March I shear off an armful of budding branches and bring them inside to force the buds into blooms. Clipping the branches has no negative effect on the outdoor display. In fact, giving the shrubs a trim keeps them under control and should be regarded as good garden maintenance.
For tools, all you need are a pair of clippers and a hammer.
When clipping the forsythia, do so at an angle. Cutting the stems at an angle, rather than straight across, allows for maximum water uptake. The hammer is for giving the end of the branch a light smashing.
Forgive the blurriness of this shot, but you get the idea. I’ve lightly smashed the end of the forsythia branch to allow even more water uptake. This will encourage the forsythia to bloom more quickly than just cutting the stems at an angle. So will filling the vase with warm water.
This vase is a favorite of mine. I found it at the RDF’s Reusables area, circa 2015. I like using tall vases when arranging branches because then there’s no need to fuss with flower frogs at the bottom of the vessel or a tape grid at the top to keep the branches in place. The branches practically arrange themselves, nice and easy.
Here’s the finished arrangement. Since any hint of frolicking will get you criticized right now, I put together a staid and upright display. No loosey goosey stuff here, flopping around promiscuously. No siree. This is a display beyond reproach. The plant material understands the need for social distancing, comprehends that it must stand as an arrangement of forsythia only, times being what they are. Even though the forsythia would dearly love to get together with its good friend, pussy willow, that simply is not possible right now. They may nod gently in the wind to each other, (thank heavens I had the foresight to plant them six feet apart), but that’s it.
Nope, no forsythia busting out in party mode. It would do so only under force.
But in a diabolical twist, forcing the forsythia to bloom is exactly what’s happening here. Check back in a couple of days for an update. Rules are going to get broken real fast.
Here’s my workspace after all the fun is done. Time to clean up. I took the leftovers and put them in a smaller vase, also from the RDF.
My windowsill doesn’t photograph very well, what with all the backyard clutter visually mixing in my endless kitchen odds and ends, but it’s a cheerful spot. The sock monkey always brings a smile, and the spider plant clipping, brought by Uncle Jerry from Dorchester, thrives in its sunny spot. To the right of the bananas stands the secondary forsythia arrangement.
Let’s see how both arrangements do over the next few days. I’ll post an update soon.