Flowering Branches

Today I got the first flowering quince branches of the season. Throughout the year I often think...all I need in this spot is a big vase of flowering quince, pear, cherry, dogwood, tulip magnolia...

Although with flowers these days it is possible to get lots of flowers throughout the year that were previously only available in specific seasons flowering branches are only available from now through sometime in May. The availability is completely dependent on the weather and when they open is always a bit of a guessing game. Most springs I sweat over branches opening enough or too much for various weddings and events. You can somewhat control the opening with heat, warm water and sun but despite much trial and error there is a bit of luck...or, lots of branches collected in different stages of openness to ensure that there will be plenty with blossoms at their most beautiful at the time you need them.

The quince I received today came from North Carolina and I will continue to get them from further and further north until they are available locally. After that I will be able to get them from as far north as Upstate New York before the season ends, usually in March. If the weather ever warms up over the next month or so I will start to see buds on my white forsythia in the garden. I will have a choice of leaving them outside to develop blooms naturally or cutting it and bringing it inside to encourage blooms sooner. We bought the white forsythia years ago through a catalog and it is not very common although it is a favorite of mine. Forced yellow forsythia will also be available soon and although I do not use it often I love large bunches of it tightly packed into old urns and metal containers.

Usually around Valentines Day double pink cherry branches are available with absolutely no color showing. It often takes about three weeks of warm indoor temperatures and hot water to get them to open but they are defenitely worth the wait. Usually they are available as well as other cherry varieties in white and single blooms throughout March and into early April. Other favorites that I look forward to that will be fleetingly available depending on both weather and suppliers are pear and tulip magnolia both favorites and both very fragile. Last is the dogwood which generally shows up in late April and is gone by the middle to the end of May...and then we must wait for quince all over again.