It's lilac season! It's unbelievable how quickly the season of blooming branches passes and , I LOVE blooming branches! They can make for great structure in mixed arrangements or stand alone in stunning minimalism (Single variety spring arrangements is one of the few times I can manage executing anything that could be called minimal) It means all the flowering trees are bursting with fragrant petals and spring color with all the exuberance of a brand new season. FINALLY, a time to start being able to be outdoors again a time to soak up some much needed vitamin D, especially after the winter we've all had. We're having beautiful weather in the PNW right now and bloomers came in hot, many are done for the season already. Here's the thing about blooming branches - by the time you can see them it's already kind of too late. We've already entered the final phase of these with cherry and apple blossom petals carpeting the ground, dogwoods in full regalia and the lush abundance of lilacs and snowball bush.
BUT it's not too late for the single most important trick for caring for branches- SPLITTING or smashing the stems. This is something you want to do anytime you have woody stems in water, but is super important for the delicate new growth we see in the springtime. I get asked all the time how we keep lilacs alive and this is it folks, after giving the fresh, angled cut we give all flowers right before they go into water, split the stem lengthwise at least a few inches up the stem. If you don't have clippers that will accomplish this you can always smash them with the back of the clippers, or even a hammer. Sometimes it's fun to smash thing, especially when what you usually do requires a delicate touch.
Here's my list of favorites to look for early next year when we need a little promise of spring indoors...
Forsythia, a bright yellow early favorite are already mostly bloomed out, though the will treat us to another round of lovely color later this year with gorgeous fall foliage.
Tulip magnolias, in all their stunning variations are in their full glory on the trees right now so too late for cutting them as well.
Quince, in shades of ranging from whites and pale pink, to corals and reds is going still going strong.
Dogwood, probably my personal favorite. They start out green and bronze and slowly stretch to white and pink.
LILAC! here we are staring down Mother's day and amazingly we are still getting lilacs in. Lush and fragrant, even with the splitting trick the don't last terribly long but they are SO worth bringing in to enjoy.