Use The Force

By Kate Riley February 17, 2010

I know many of you are blanketed in snow, and part of me wants to be frolicking in a big pile of it right now.  Yet out here on the west coast, we’ve been blessed with a hint of spring.  I was in a euphoric trance this morning as I walked through Lowe’s garden department.   Rows and rows of tulips and daffodils.  Oodles of fresh new plants budding for spring !

It’s still cold around here, but the cherry blossom trees have just started to bud.  Just two days ago, I clipped a few branches off our mature cherry blossom tree, then I brought some branches indoors to force them to bloom.

I’ve never had real  cherry blossoms budding in my house – I’ve always enjoyed the fakes from Pier One.  But these beautiful pink blossoms are making me smile today.

“They’re real, and they’re spectacular.”

forced cherry blossom branch

I simply followed these steps by Better Homes & Gardens.

1) Clip pencil size branches that have small buds with a pruner; 2) Strip buds and small branches from bottom where lower part will be in water; 3) Peel away a bit of bark from the base to assist in water absorption, and place in a warm spot in your home.  That would be the kitchen window in my house.

Isn’t it amazing what a few blooms can do to chase away the winter blues ?

forcing branches

cherry blossom branches in vase

cherry blossoms up close

Here’s a few more photos of forced branches just to get you even more excited for the arrival of spring.

bhg white blooms Better Homes and Gardens


house beautiful forsythia House Beautiful


vogue Vogue


martha cherry and dogwood Martha Stewart

via habitually chic Via Habitually Chic



martha branches Martha Stewart

Ah, spring.  It just can’t come fast enough, can it ?

Have you ever used the force ? 


  1. It’s supposed to be around 60 for the next several days in the Seattle area. On top of that, the sun is shining and it’s still light out at 5:25. What a boost for any mood!!! Those are lovely – I don’t have any in my yard but there are a bunch that line the street in front of my classroom, maybe I could “borrow” a few.

  2. I’m totally jealous of your cherry blossoms. It’s still winter here until late March and if often snows even in April. I do force pussywillows every year, and some years I force forsythia as well (my bush is small so I have only recently been able to cut some). I need to go and cut some branches soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. OH, you should see Vancouver (BC). Everything has been getting ready to burst open since Jan. Monday night I saw a bunch of cherry blossoms opening up and I think I even saw full roses. Crazy!

  4. I am so ready for spring! Yes we have tons of snow here in Ohio. Those flowers are so beautiful, thanks for giving me hope that Spring will be coming!

  5. I’m jealous, it is still so cold here. I’m waiting to see some daffodils. We can have those peeking out in February and they bloom by March. I love daffodils. The cherry blossoms you forced to bloom are so beautiful. Enjoy! Love & blessings from NC!

  6. Those are beautiful! I live in Michigan… I hardly even dare dream of spring. It could be up to two months away still. Ah well. Loving seeing those blossoms. That reminds me that I really really want to go to Washington DC in the spring to see the cherry blossoms there. Enjoy your blooms!

  7. Thanks for posting this! We have about another month before the budding starts here but the cherry tree in our yard is my absolute favorite! The kids call it “mommy’s tree.” Can’t wait to bring it inside now that I know how!

  8. A little jealous that I don’t have a beautiful cherry tree to go prune some branches off…hmmm, now I need to be on a quest…does that go with the force? lol These are so beautiful and I have some perfect light blue vases to put them in…along with our remodel I know will be requesting to my husband a cherry tree in our back yard. lol Enjoy, they are beautiful and thanks for the great tips!


  9. These are breathtakingly beautiful! I’m sick with jealousy. We’re still trying to dig our way out of all this snow, and there’s more on the way tonight. I can’t wait to see some cherry blossoms around these parts!

  10. I’m so jealous. I haven’t forced blooming stems but I may try it this year. We have several flowering trees and shrubs…of course they are still brown and snow covered here in Illinois!

  11. Those are lovely, I am jealous and reminded of the beautiful blooms that used to appear on the tree outside my childhood home. Back when we lived in nor CA our apartment complex had several of those trees and I didn’t appreciate them like I should’ve. Now that I’m back on cold MI I’d love to see those pretty blooms right about now.

  12. I love the Seinfeld quote.
    These branches are marvellous. I want to go hunt some down. It’s pretty warm here, but it’s supposed to snow this week :(

  13. I’m in Cali too, and I was out taking pics of the blossoms today too! I don’t force anything. I just go and enjoy everyone else’s blossoms. :) I want to plant an orange tree & a cherry tree. Cherry blossoms are my FAVORITE!! And those huge purple ones. I need to figure out what tree that’s from, but they are absolutely beautiful.

    Our weather was perfect today. Flip flop & tank top weather. So crazy!

  14. Oh, how I long there were buds anywhere within a hundred mile radius to be found!! But alas, I am one of those blanketed in snow… So jealous, but hopeful….maybe I can try this in a month…or two…

  15. Wow, those are stunning! We won’t have blooms until probably early April here in Iowa. I am sooooo ready for spring, though. I keep trying to think of creative ways to make it feel less wintery :-)

  16. WOW. I love those. I’m totally trying to think of any cherry trees in the area that I could go “borrow” from. Or – I may just head somewhere to get some fake ones because those totally made me smile.

    And the Seinfeld quote? So perfect. Thanks for that!

  17. I am greeeen with envy here in snow buried Ohio. We’re supposed to get 6-9 MORE inches this weekend, so there’s nothing here to force! :)
    That was my favorite Seinfeld episode, btw.

  18. This is so refreshing.It stoped snowing in PA for now but it over yet till I grwo FAT & sing,but I’ll be in Lowes on Saturday for those cherrie blossoms.Simply divine Kate! Thanks for putting a smile on this face.:-)

  19. I’m wallowing (and not in a good way) in the snow, and this posts makes me ache with longing for a hint of spring. This year, I will be forcing anything I can get my hands on out of desperation for some color! :) Enjoy your gorgeous flowers!

  20. I brought in cherry blossom as well. They look lovely in my bathroom.
    And in my hallway, I brought in bamboo shoots.
    Very easy way to usher in spring

  21. beautiful! It is amazing what having real flowers inside can do for the soul. I can’t wait for Spring! Bring on the warm weather!

  22. I had cut back a forsythia hanging over 6′ into the back of my yard when I moved here 13 yrs ago.
    After that, I kept leaning over the fence to cut back this poor woe-begotten shrub of my neighbors. They have a jungle for a yard!!! NOW….it is gorgeous! Beautiful colour every spring. The birds love it too.
    I hadn’t thought to bring the branches in a bit early. I’m going to give it a try.

  23. Your post reminds me that I bought some cherry blossom cuttings about this time last year from Trader Joes of all places. They bloomed inside for about 10 days. It was wonderful to have a live blooming plant in the house. Thanks for giving us the instructions for ‘doing it ourselves’.

  24. The quote cracked me up. Classic!

    Yes, it’s gorgeous in Sonoma County right now! I went for a nice long morning walk through Petaluma yesterday morning and was noticing the blossoms. Yours are beautiful, Kate!

  25. LOVE the Seinfeld quote-that totally took me by suprise and had me laughing!
    I love cherry blossoms sooooooo much! I wish I had someone I could get a clipping from. They look gorgeous! I am still enjoying the purple lilies my husband sent me for V-Day but will need to be on the look out for my next vase filler…thanks!! Also, thanks for the Pier1 tip in case I need it!

  26. Oh they are beautiful! I am jealous…I don’t even have a tree (or grass) in my yard to snip a few branches from. Soon…sigh:)

  27. I’ve always thought about trying this and every time I go out to the one thing I could use (a forsythia) it is already in bloom and then I don’t want to cut it, haha! I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  28. Now I’ve just got to find a cherry blossom tree somewhere here in Los Angeles! What a great idea. Actually if I think about it, because it is warmer here, I’ve already seen one or two in bloom.


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