Appalachia Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

A Tease Of Spring

It feels like Spring has descended on Southern Appalachia. The girls have been out riding their bikes and jumping on their cousin’s trampoline. The weather has even enticed Chitter and Chatter to try and get me to drag out their summer clothes. I assured them-it’s only a teasing taste of Spring-I promise Old Man Winter isn’t done yet.

But over the weekend I couldn’t resist getting outside myself. I was anxious to see if any of my early flowers were peeking through the earth. I didn’t see any flowers-but I did see buds on the Forsythia (yellow bells) and on Granny’s Bridal Wreath Bush.

As I reminded myself-not to get too excited it’s only a glimpse of the Spring to come-I remembered something Granny used to do this time of the year-force Forsythia to bloom early by taking a few branches inside.


Once I found my cutters, it only took a few minutes to cut several branches of Forsythia-and while I was at it-I thought I’d try forcing the Bridal Wreath too.

After I came back in doors I looked online to see what I could find out about forcing blooms. Everything I found sounded so complicated-that I decide to do it exactly like Granny did. I stuck the cut pieces in a pitcher of water and set it on the table-easy peasy. It always worked for Granny-and I’ll let you know if it works for me too.

One other thing Granny taught me about Forsythia: in early Spring-if you want to spread your Forsythia around or get a start from your neighbor-all you have to do is cut a branch/sprig off and stick it in the ground where you want it to grow. When The Deer Hunter and I first moved into our house-the bank along the driveway looked so bare-Granny and I cut pieces off of her Forsythia and her Pink Weigela and stuck them in the ground along the length of the driveway. They all lived. Now the bank has been reclaimed by the woods-but each Spring-I still see pink and yellow blooms peeking out from the trees reminding me of the day me and Granny planted them.



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  • Reply
    February 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I love the yellow of the forsythia bush. The one I had died out, but I can replace it now that you have told me how to get new starts.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I love forsythia bushes. So bright and springy. We have a few of them, but I don’t think they have buds on them yet.

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    February 1, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I will have to check and see if my Forsynthia or Wygelia are budding if so I am gonna try your Granny’s trick. I love Wygelia and am in the process of spreading it around the yard.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I am heading out tomorrow to look for spring here! Love the story of your forsythia.

  • Reply
    Jan Connell
    February 1, 2011 at 3:11 am

    I am sooo ready for spring and once the forsythia begins to bloom flip flops aren’t far behind.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 31, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    We have many, many forsythia bushes, all started from one original bush. Most rewarding!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 31, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    That is so interesting, I imagine that I would be looking for anything to bloom if I were in NC year round. I love flowers and Spring & Fall are my favorite times of the year. Not too hot or cold.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I am all sorts of jealous! Here in the upper south, we are still far from spring I am afraid. It was nice yesterday but may not be again for awhile! Still, Groundhog day is near!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I got very excited yesterday when I saw that my daffodils are coming up! A sure sign of spring! They are about 1/2 inch high.
    I used to have forsythia where I lived before. It is beautiful!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    You’re so right about Winter’s chill. It ain’t over yet, but it
    was nice yesterday. I was out in
    the sun a lot, but we still got
    snow where I live, especially on
    the north side so I didn’t notice
    any budding going on yet. Maybe if
    this rain melts all the white ice,
    I’ll be able to see little Easter
    flowers peeking through. This
    makes me want to go trout fishing.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Exactly what I did on Sunday. Went for a walk around the farm with Justin, Anna, Dirt, Bet and a pack of dogs. I cut branches of red twig willows and dogwood, and red twigs of alder saplings. Then when we got back to the yard I took branches of the Forsythia. I sent some home with Anna. I’ve even had some of my winter forced branches root in the water.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    January 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

    get you to dreaming of the warm breezes and birds singing.. but……. here in sw pennsylvania.. it is only 17 degrees today and calling for snow.. ughhhh and we have about 5 inches of snow on the ground still.. so there are no signs of it around here…
    but.. as you.. i love to bring in a few sprigs of forsythia or other things in to be enjoyed .
    i know i am looking forward to the crocus, hyacinth, and other early bulbs.. that have managed to keep coming up .. even tho i have abandoned my garden.. 🙁
    soooo i am happy that the girls are able to enjoy the warm sun on their faces .. give them a hug for me… happy spring everyone
    and big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 31, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I love to force blooms too…we used to take Pussy Willow switches and put a little bundle in a tall vase…in no time they sent up “catkins”…We lost our old Pussy Willow. They are kind of hard to find at the nurseries anymore…
    We say “For-sent-the-ah”…my Granny said…‘Four-sin-thees’ for Forsythias and ‘Piney’ for Peony.
    She used ‘Flags’ for the old common tall, light blue Iris and ‘Apple bush’ for the Red Japonica and ‘Button Bush’ for the Spiraea shrub with a little double bloom on the Plena Spiraea.
    I always force blooms in a vase of water. I rarely cut mine…because it usually is a spur of the moment thing while out in the yard and I break mine off…probably not good..LOL
    My crocus are late…usually bloom by the first week of February on sunny days…can’t say that I blame them for sleeping late..LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    January 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I have always just brought forsythia cuttings in and just stuck them in water and they’ve bloomed and brought some much needed, and appreciated, color inside, but as far as spreading the forsythia … I’ve had no luck with that but am going to try again this year. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I do what you do — cut them off and stick them in a big container of water. This works great for pussy willows especially. I did force some forsythia this way last year too.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 31, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Tipper, Saturday and Sunday were such glorious “spring” days. I walked to town and back just to enjoy the weather. Like you, I know it won’t last but I can still enjoy it while it’s here!
    My grandmother had all manners of flowers. She truly had a green thumb. She could grow anything, in the garden or in the flower bed. She had Yellow Bells. I was grown before I knew their name was Forsythia. They make a great hedgerow, easy to grow and train.
    My cats spent the weekend out enjoying the sun as much as I did. Now we have overcast and cooler. Oh well, I love the changing seasons….some days better than others!

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    January 31, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I have done this for years. I just stick them in a jar of water. They have always bloomed for me, Barbara

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I am trying hard not to be jealous! We had windchills of minus seven degrees again this morning – it’s official, hell has frozen over, lol! We’re to have snow starting around midnight and changing over to 1/2″ – 1″ of ice by morning. I hope you will be too warm to partake of those festivities! We don’t have anything in bud up here yet, but a blooming branch of forsythia would be very cheering right about now! Our Grannies knew that, and I’m sure if you did it just the way Granny did, they’ll be flowering in no time. I am looking forward to the pictures!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 31, 2011 at 7:58 am

    As you know, the yellowbells you got started are likely to still be there well after you and maybe even Chitter and Chatter have gone.
    Yellowbells and daffodils still adorn old home places in the Great Smoky Mt Nat’l Park. We don’t know when they were planted, of course, but we do know that no one has done anything in terms of pruning the yellowbells or separating the daffodil bulbs in many places for more than 3/4 of a century.
    My very own Yellow Belle (Susan) I are going to try your forcing method. I just went out and made some cuttings. By the way, I’d looked at the yellowbells in the middle of last week after Lonnie had mentioned to me that his daffodils were poking up their heads (and ours are, too). At that point, there were no buds to speak of on the yellowbells. But this glorious weekend got them started. Ours look about like yours.
    Throughout creation, God gives us reminders of the overall order of things. A warm day or two in January and buds on trees and flowers help us remember that there will be, just a little further down the road, glory to behold.
    That has application beyond what mortal eyes can see.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 31, 2011 at 6:50 am

    I saw something the other day bout forcing forsythia and other things but likeyou said it sounded way too complicated. Interested in how yours turns out. The article I read said it’s easier to force them in Feb adn March than Jan.
    Yesterday was a beautiful day!! But you are right, it’s just a tease.
    Patty H

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    January 31, 2011 at 4:30 am

    I’m trying to overwinter a few of plants inside one of “junk room” — obviously I have not pride to admit that — and I wish I could sneak them outside for some of these warm days but the ol’ back won’t permit me to pick them up. I keep “purple” shamrocks every year and they always die down to nothing, but so easy to “bring them back to life.” Just noticed today that some wee little sprouts are peeking out…. I would love to be able to afford a sunroom to be able to “fiddle” with my few plants. well, it’s 4;30 am …need to try to catch some zzzzzzzs.

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