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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spring, will you ever get here??

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr.
For those of us here in Canada, it has been, to say the least, a long, harsh winter. We are all tired of being sick, and sick of being cold! More snow is scheduled!! I tried to simulate some Spring this past week, to remind myself of warmer, cheerier days and sunshine that lasts longer than a few minutes. I believe Martha Stewart would agree: the perfect pre-spring brightener is to force a few branches.

Photo by Robin Standeger and Stephen Aleschof from Roman Williams.
Somehow, seeing these sparse stems with the budding growth are encouraging - give me some green!!! This is a little project that doesn't cost anything if you have a few interesting trees nearby to obtain a few branches from. The best branches are forsythia, magnolia, curly willow,
pussy willow, flowering dogwood, flowering crab, and quince.
Photo courtesy of Habitually Chic.
This photo of this gorgeous, simple arrangement is from the home of Valesca Guerrand-Hermes.
Sometimes, I cheat a bit, and put in a few artificial (but very realistic-looking) branches with sparse buds and blooms on them, amongst the real branches, to keep the arrangement looking healthy. I found some gorgeous but minimalist-looking forsythia branches at Pottery Barn a few years ago, so look around for some. It's important that any synthetic branches or florals used look very real.

If you have no branches in your yard to clip, the flower department in your local grocery store will often have branches that are used as fillers for their arrangements. They're generally inexpensive and sometimes quite lush, as with this vase full of branches in this photo above from Kenneth Brown Design.

Pussy willows are easy to work with, stand tall in a shallow vase if supported properly, and are quite sculptural.
In this photo from Martha Stewart's blog, it appears as if the view of the snow outside is intentionally being hidden by these huge arrangements (these people must be as tired of looking at the cold and frozen scenery as I am!).
Arrangements of branches are also stunning as a centerpiece, as in this Martha Stewart photo.

In this photo from Metropolitan Home, branches were used as a chandelier. This piece
was equipped with tiny lights and actually functioned as a light fixture.

Forcing branches requires a few steps:

1. Clip several branches from trees and shrubs outdoors that have small buds on them.

2. Clip the branches again indoors on the diagonal, trimming all small branches about 6- 8" above (where the branch will be submerged in water).

3. Place one large branch in a vase in a few inches of hot water, until it cools down to room temperature.

4. Fill the vase with more lukewarm water, add the rest of the branches, and place the arrangement in a bright, cool place. Try to avoid direct sun.
In a few weeks, you should see blooms!
These arrangements for a spring wedding included a mossy nest.

Photo courtesy of Habitually Chic.
This gorgeous hall arrangement is from talented New York designer, Steven Gambrel.

Photo from Habitually Chic.
Kelly Wearstler's dining table arrangement is flanked with some symmetrical arrangements of branches.
Photo from Steven Gambrel Design
Another favourite 'Spring fix' is to buy several large green Granny Smith apples or pears and place them in a modern bowl. It's a great healthy snack for the kids and that hit of juicy green feels fresh for this time of year. How can you get better than that...low cost decor and nutrition all in one? In my house, the fruit is gobbled up before I can appreciate the look of it , so I buy extra!
If you're not snowed in this weekend, hope you have a chance to bring some Spring into your home!


  1. we have snow again too. I will be buying some green fruit today to bring some colour into my kitchen. love your blog!


  2. i hear you on this one! the only things that kept me sane all winter are my lovely tulips :) just bought another batch this week to make my space feel springy and cool. great blog. thanks for visiting, i will be sure to drop by often.


  3. Hi!
    Great decoration idea.
    See you around.


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