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Spring Indoors: GBBD, March 2010

March 15, 2010

Forsythia detail (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)It’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but there is nothing blooming yet in my garden. This is, in part, because I am not usually in Maine at this time of year and have few early-blooming bulbs planted – something I will remedy when I begin to live here full-time in a few years. I do have one lone hyacinth bulb in a protected place on the south side of the house that was somehow left behind when the hyacinths were moved to a different part of the garden many years ago and that has put up a tiny bud.

But my blooms are indoors. The cyclamen plants that I wrote about for bloom day in January are still blooming. (See Indoor Blooms to Cheer a Winter Day) What would I do without these wonderful flowers in winter? The blooms are finally beginning to fade, though, and only the scarlet plant still has unopened buds. Soon the cyclamen will drop their leaves and go dormant for a while. (This is the point at which many people think they are dead and throw them out. Don’t! Wait a few weeks to see if they start putting up some new growth.)

What really says spring in my house right now is a vase of forsythia branches that I cut earlier in the month and brought inside for forcing. The first branches, brought inside on March 1, are now in full bloom. Another bunch, cut about 10 days later, will bloom next week. By the time they are all done, the shrub from which they were cut should be blooming outdoors.

Forced Forsythia (photo credits: Jean Potuchek)

A month from now, April 15, I expect to have outdoor blooms to share – something to look forward to.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is in bloom today in gardens around the world.

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. gardeningasylum permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:08 am

    Hi Jean, What would we do without our forced forsythias? So cheerful and easy, I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t cut them. Pretty closeups! Cyndy

  2. March 15, 2010 8:26 am

    I miss forsythia. I never notice any around here, but I know that it should grow here. Someone gave me a cutting years ago. It died, but the plant from which it came was viable, so it should have thrived.

  3. March 15, 2010 10:49 am

    They look so pretty! I just love that bright yellow. I never remember to bring anything in for forcing.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:20 pm

      Catherine, Maybe the reason you never remember to bring anything in for forcing is that you have so much in bloom already in your garden! (I’m only slightly green with envy.) 🙂

  4. March 15, 2010 1:44 pm

    How nice that you have forsythia to bring inside. It makes the cold more tolerable.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:19 pm

      Joene, It is nice to have forsythia to bring inside. At this time of year, when winter is essentially over but it seems as though spring is still a long way off, it’s cheerful yellow keeps me sane.

      So, yes, Cyndy, I agree; what would we do without our forced forsythia? And it’s so easy.

      Having said that, Nell, I must admit to an ambivalent relationship with forsythia. It’s pretty much the only game in town at this time of year, but I find it very uninteresting the rest of the year. I have a big somewhat unkempt forsythia in the middle of the front yard; it came with the house and was just about the only planting the previous owner had. It will need to be moved from its current location when I put on a planned addition, and I’ve been pondering what to do with it. I was thinking about just getting rid of it entirely. But, realizing how much I rely on having it at this time of year, I think I’d better take a piece of it and plant it in a less prominent location, perhaps along the side of the front yard.

  5. March 15, 2010 3:22 pm

    Lovely Forsythia Jean, well worth bringing it inside to force. I don’t see much of it here, but do rather miss it. Where I grew up in England I think it was obligatory to have at least one in every garden!

  6. March 15, 2010 3:43 pm

    ah, next month Jean, its coming!

  7. March 15, 2010 4:37 pm

    aloha jean,

    i love forsythia and miss not having it from my previous garden….it really does usher in’s to having a warm and quick spring in your garden soon!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:22 pm

      Noel and CV, I’m sure if I lived in a place where I didn’t have forsythia, I would miss it.
      Because, as Jess says, what having forsythia in bloom in the house at this time of the year tells me is that next month is coming, and it will truly be spring by this time next month.

  8. March 15, 2010 5:07 pm

    Jean, I am also thinking about the future. I am trying to get a lot of the small early bulbs in now, hoping they bulk up alot for when I move into my future home.

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:25 pm

      Deborah, this is a good point. I would probably do the same except that I need a landscape plan for the front of the property before I start planting bulbs, and I can’t really make that plan until I get the addition I’m hoping to put on the front of the house sorted out. (I’d hoped to put the addition on during my sabbatical this year, but it’s one of the things that got put on hold when my mother got sick.)

  9. March 15, 2010 7:31 pm

    I do love your forsythia and it’s sunny flowers. I can’t wait to see what you have next month :^)

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:28 pm

      Noelle, LOL, what I’ll have next month will probably be exactly the same thing I have this month — forsythia, but blooming outside instead of forced inside. It will be May before I have much in the way of perennials in bloom outdoors. (Do you know the song “June is Busting Out All Over” from the musical Carousel? That song is about spring in Maine — in June!)

  10. March 15, 2010 8:01 pm

    Jean –
    You just gave me a great new idea for and ‘anchor’ my new SW garden – Forsythia! I was going to ask the obvious ‘newbie’ question — “What is this ‘Garden Bloggers Bloom Day’ of which you speak (?), but as always, you intuitively knew to answer before the question was asked! (How do you do that?!) 🙂 Thanks ‘Coach’! -Shyrlene

    • Jean permalink*
      March 16, 2010 2:37 pm

      Shyrlene, I remember not having a clue what Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day was when I was a newbie. A great source for information like this is the Garden Bloggers’ Idea Gallery that Nan Ondra has put together at Gardening Gone Wild.
      Anticipating questions before they are asked is probably a skill I’ve developed over more than 3 decades of teaching. I can’t tell you how many times I was sandbagged in my early teaching years by student questions that I couldn’t answer — and, of course, I was too insecure and defensive to just say, “I don’t know”! (And some people think youth is the best part of life. No way!)

  11. March 15, 2010 10:01 pm

    Jean, your photos of forsythia are even more beautiful than the plant. Somehow you rendered it very magical, so that it glows — not that it doesn’t glow in the color-starved early spring landscape, of course, now that I think of it. Still, I think you have done those “yellah bells,” as we called them when children, more than just average photographic justice. 🙂

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 7:56 am

      Meredith, LOL, I think the special glow in the photos was a result of the fact that it was such a dark, rainy, gloomy day that I had to turn on all the lights in the room and use the flash on my camera.

  12. March 15, 2010 10:26 pm

    Oh Jean, Your forsythia is so lovely and cheery! I have not forced any this year … yet! I think I will pick some tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration! ;>)

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 7:58 am

      Carol, It is one of the virtues of forsythia that they are so easy to force. I cut these pretty early; I could barely see the buds on the branches — and they started to bloom in about 10 days. I’ve sometimes brought in forsythia that were further along and had them bloom in a day or two.

  13. March 16, 2010 5:14 am

    Those forsythia flowers are very pretty Jean. I’m not familiar with them and I’m not sure if it’s because they are not grown in my area or if I’m just ignorant of them!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 8:01 am

      Heidi, Forsythia is a genus of shrubs in the olive family. There are only six species in the genus, most of them native to one or another part of Asia. Their chief distinction is that they get covered in these masses of very cheerful yellow flowers in early spring, and they don’t get foliage until after the flowers are done. I checked, and people do grow these in Australia, but I don’t know if they grow in your part of Australia. (I think the issue will be whether it is too hot for them.)

  14. March 16, 2010 7:01 am

    I am properly ignorant with flowers, but I’m trying to push Mrs IG down that route to get some colour into the sea of mud that is now the garden!

    I just like colour really (although my fav is green).

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 8:03 am

      IG, If you like color without much work, forsythia might be just the ticket. They are easy to establish and grow and are a mass of yellow flowers in the early spring. After they finish blooming, the bushes just sit there looking green (your fav color!) until they lose their leaves in fall.

  15. March 16, 2010 8:46 am

    Jean, I love your forsythia, my mother’s favorite! Looking at your vase of blooms, I might as well be in her home. She has them everywhere! They are a wonderful, cheerful focal point…and yellow brightens every spot and spirit!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 8:05 am

      Kimberly, How nice that these reminded you of your mother’s home. For those of us who are starved for color in late winter, forsythia really are the most cheerful reminder that spring is on the way.

  16. March 16, 2010 9:01 pm

    Aren’t forsythia just the most cheerful things ever? I forgot to cut mine and bring them inside. Shoot. But I checked the bush today and they are about to burst into bloom outside, so you will not be hearing me complain! Best of luck with the approaching spring. Kelly

  17. March 17, 2010 12:01 am

    I’ve only experience a forsythia springtime once, a decade ago when I was visiting Seattle. Its yellow flowers showed off so amazingly well against the gray and brown of the late winter landscape. I didn’t know they could be forced indoors like you did. What a bonus!

  18. March 17, 2010 4:14 am

    Your forsythia branches are just beautiful. Nothing says spring better than that bright spring yellows of the forsythia and daffodils. I am anticipating the return of these early spring favorites. Happy spring!!

    • Jean permalink*
      March 17, 2010 8:17 am

      Kelly, I bet you’re happy to see those forsythia about to bloom outdoors; it’s been a long winter in your part of the country! You could have them both outside and inside if you want. 🙂

      James, Forsythia do make a wonderful show against the drab landscape of late winter/early spring, and they are the easiest flowers to force. No issues about putting them in the dark or the cold for X number of weeks. Nope, you just cut the branches, stick them in some water, and wait a few days!

      Liisa, I love yellow any time of the year. (LOL, I’m the person with a four-room house and eleven cans in the basement of different shades and textures of yellow paint!) But in spring, those vibrant yellows are extra special. Do you have fat buds on your daffodils yet?

  19. March 17, 2010 11:24 am

    Oh how pretty! I never thought to force branches like that. What a way to brighten up a room! Learned something new. Thanks!

  20. deborahelliott permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:57 pm

    Jean, your indoor forsythia are so sunny. They must bring a smile on any cold, dreary day! Hopefully, you won’t have too many of those days left, as spring comes in.

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