At this time of year our Norwegian grandmother would have her eyes peeled for branches and stems that she could bring into the house and ‘force’ to bloom. Forsythia was a favourite and later would come branches of apple and pear. It seems to be a Scandinavian thing… plus Grandma was a little impatient by nature.
Our friend Nicoline, who runs The Danes online shop, say that it’s rare to go into a Danish home in February and not find bright yellow stems of forsythia combatting the winter gloom. We reckon – as is so often the case with Scandinavian style and interiors – that we can learn something from those Nordic types…
So, for starters, don’t be put off by the term ‘forcing’; ‘coaxing’ might be a nicer way of putting it… The long and short of it, whether you are forcing or coaxing stems to flower, is that you are tricking the flowers into thinking that spring has arrived by bringing them indoors and giving them a little warmth, water and natural light.
Stems that responds well to forcing include pussy willow, forsythia, chaenomeles, fruit blossom, magnolias and spirea… but why not experiment? The important thing is to keep the water fresh – some people recommend some kind of anti-bacterial agent but we’d rather give this the swerve. Be patient, enjoy the process and before you know it you’ll have cheery flowers bringing some colour and interest to your windowsill or table – however horrible the weather outside.