Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

Free Flowers for Valentine’s Day and Beyond

In February and later, nicely shaped cut branches of  Forsythia
brought inside to a vase with lots of water
will flower gracefully within 2 weeks.

Yes, it really is as simple as that. Just keep the water refreshed, nearly to the top of the container.

If you cut some pieces just as February begins, you should have flowering by Valentine’s Day. If you cut some a little before Feb. 1st and some a little after, you can be sure to have plenty whose flowering time is just right.
If you take groups of Forsythia cuttings at interval cycles of a couple of weeks, you can have fresh flowering branches from now through the time this shrub flowers outside.

I have a friend who keeps her bunches in an unused bathtub. She likes fresh armloads of it around in February, March and April.
Personally, I just pop some shapely stems into the intended vases right after cutting them and enjoy watching the buds swell and then flower. I swap
out these branches for fresh ones, cut at a later date, when I want another round of sunny yellow.

If, instead, you nonchalantly leave the branches in the vase after the flowers have dropped, and you keep the water refreshed, the stems will soon have fresh leaves. These can be pretty too. You would just have to be willing to pick up the fallen flowers, and to be patient waiting for the foliage.

Forsythia, Daffodils and Anemone in February

The photo includes purchased Anemones and Daffodils, but the Forsythia and the sword shaped Arum leaves are straight from my garden in February.
Unless covered with snow, the nearly evergreen Arum italicum pictum is an amazing perennial whose foliage can be cut  for one’s vases throughout every winter.

I will be writing about this plant and other evergreen perennials very soon. 

You will have to find a Forsythia to trim, but our ecotome is full of them and most would benefit from some annual pruning. This is a multi-purpose time to do some of it. Each shrub has so very many flowers that a few stems from considerate places will never be missed.

If you haven’t got one of these rambling reliables, you can ask a neighbor or friend, or respectfully diminish a shrub that is encroaching on a public way.
If, by mistake or on purpose, you prune stems from some other
kind of rambunctious shrub instead, don’t worry. It may give you lovely leaves for your vase. Surprises can be sweet. You might have to wait quite a while though. Some shrubs and trees are difficult to bring into leaf or flower indoors. You can try. The grace of the branches alone can be satisfying, but if any of your experimental stems displeases you, just subtract it.

Another Good Candidate

Salix hakuro nishiki is a beautiful willow with variegated leaves in summer. If you take in these slender red stems in February or March and treat them the same as Forsythia branches, you may get charming tiny catkins along their length. It has been widely planted in recent years, so you might find a good gardener who could spare some modest branches.
This Salix is a great treasure, and I rarely make a landscape without one somewhere, but it is a fast grower can be hard to keep up with if you are trying to keep it small. Luckily, that same enthusiasm lets you prune it quite alot, just about any time of year, and it will be right back.
Through the warm seasons their delicate green and white leaves make these useful in arrangements.

 Some Other Considerations

Considerate winter pruning for decorative branches of Forsythia would be to take each stem nicely back to any growing point. These shrubs typically grow several feet a year, so trimming off  branches 2 or 3 feet long will just give you back a few feet for that individual to grow into for next year. There will still be innumerable quantities of flowers on any well grown specimen.
Just don’t shear Forsythia back in summer or fall since this unnatural technique removes many of the buds and makes unnatural stubs. You would lose the possibility of graceful branches of indoor and outdoor flowers that year.

As a shrub, Forsythia is perhaps most attractive in a fountainesque form. The correct general pruning technique to accomplish this would be to cut some of the oldest and woodiest of  its stems all the way to the base of the shrub, and take away crossover branches that interfere with the fountain shape. This will rejuvenate the overall plant. Other needed pruning is best accomplished soon after flowering so as not to cut off branches when they are preparing flower buds for the following year. Forsythia is forgiving. Whatever you do, these plants will recover.

While not a favored plant for a small landscape because of its overenthusiasm and taking ways, it announces spring wherever it resides, and having one tucked into a corner somewhere can be precious in giving you free winter flowers forever.

Ellen Cool______________________________________________________________________________________________

For Valentine’s Season
I want to refer you to this beautiful

Film of  Free Hugs Day
from Milan, Italy

Since the Idea of Free Hugs began in 2004, such events have taken place
all over the world.
Films have been made of these special days
in myriad individual cities.

The First Saturday after June 30th is the appointed ‘Free Hugs day’ each year, Worldwide.

Free Hugs Campaign Italy – Abbracci a Milano – YouTube


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  1. Posted March 19, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

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  2. Posted July 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

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  3. Posted April 11, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I think you’d all find this interesting

  4. Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    You’ve got a great blog here well done congratulations

  5. Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this! Well done!

  6. Posted February 19, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I appreciate the good work you are doing! I’ve really enjoyed reading it. You’ve aroused a great interest. Keep up doing it!

  7. Jane Lakatos
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Hello dear Reasoned Landscape…

    My friend has forsythia branches in her window and it is the cheeriest remembrance for me.

  8. Helen
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    “Announcement of Spring” is like music to my ears.
    I am going out right now to trudge through the snow to
    cut some branches of forsythia.
    Thank you for this how to posting!!

    Hugs to you too!

  9. Posted February 16, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    We cut all our forsythia out of the landscape a couple years ago – well all except one. They were taking over! Last fall we chopped the last one to the ground in order to let it come back more tame. So no branches for the house this year. LOVE this idea for bringing some life and color into the house.

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