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Blooming Branches

Nature is fleeting, so I enjoy and love every blooming moment of every blooming tree, shrub, and flowering plant around me! From the first emerging bud on a branch in Spring to the last fading Chrysanthemum flower in Fall!

In early spring, very rarely do I miss out on an opportunity to take those budding branches, from flowering trees or shrubs, and turn them into blooming branches in my home. For an amazing visual impact, you can make beautiful sweeping arrangements to place in your foyer, on a side table, cocktail table, or for a centerpiece…anywhere they have room to stretch out! ​Some examples of early spring bloomers are: forsythia shrub (my favorite!), apple, crabapple, or red bud trees.

It’s simple to do. All you need is a bucket of water, pruning shears, a Sturdy Decorative Vessel of your choice, pruned branches, fresh water, and a hammer (I’ll explain later!). You can also use a Floral Preservative which helps to prolong the life of the blooms, but that’s optional.

1. Decide how tall your vessel will be. A shorter one works best for branches under 2 feet and a taller one is best for branches 2 feet and over. This is an approximate calculation. You’ll have to decide if it’s heavy enough when filled with water or your arrangement will be too top heavy for the vase. If it is, you will have to cut the branches shorter or use something heavier. Let’s put it this way, you can’t use a light plastic vessel unless you use very short branches!

2. With your bucket of water in hand, seek out a flowering shrub or tree that has buds emerging. Keeping the shape of the shrub or tree intact, strategically prune the straggly branches by making an angled cut at the length you want the branch. Then, plunge the cut end into the bucket of water. An angled cut will help the branch take in more water. For those of you who don’t have the task of pruning every spring, buy the branches from a florist or help a friend prune!

3. To prepare for arranging, fill your vessel with water and have your pruners or hammer ready. Split the cut end (about an inch) of each individual branch using the pruners, or gently hammer, then immediately place the split end first into your decorative vessel. By splitting the end, it will enable the branch to take up even more water. Now arrange to your liking and enjoy your blooming branches!

Whether you’re pruning branches from your shrubs or trees or buying them, don’t forget to put down some roots too. Arbor Day is the last Friday in April in New York State (some states may vary due to different planting times) and it reminds us to plant a tree for our own good. You don’t need a yard to do that, all you need is a large container to plant a dwarf tree or bush.

Now I’ll leave you with my mother’s favorite poem to think upon….

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see, ​
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, ​
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair; ​

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, ​
But only God can make a tree.