6 Fresh Cuts for Long-Lasting Color
With gray and snowy weather outside our windows, we're keeping things bright indoors thanks to bouquets of blooms and fresh foliage. Striking in scale and lasting in beauty, cut branches are the perfect way to bring the garden home as we wait for the arrival of spring. Below, Nursery Manager Beth B. and Greengoods Buyer Francesca D. share six of their favorite branches for adding flowers and foliage to the winter home. You can also take a peek at our care guide to keep your branches looking their best while in bloom.
1. Salmon Quince: Named for its abundance of soft pink blooms, this flowering quince begins in a shade of pale salmon, darkening to a richer pink by the season's end. Native to China, Japan and Korea, these spiny shrubs are part of the rose family. Ideal for forcing indoors, they are also one of the garden's earliest bloomers, flowering just as winter comes to an end.
2. Olive: Our favorite fresh cut for foliage, olive branches offer distinctive, silver-green leaves that create a beautiful backdrop for winter flowers. Native to the Mediterranean Basin, the olive tree has been cultivated in that region for more than 5,000 years.
3. Pussy Willow: Named for the furry "catkins" that appear before spring's first leaves, pussy willow branches add soft texture to indoor arrangements. Pussy willow is traditionally displayed during several early spring holidays across the globe. It's a favorite fresh cut in China during the Lunar New Year, and is also used as a replacement for palm branches on Palm Sunday in some regions of Europe.
4. Winter Honeysuckle: Native to China, this fragrant shrub was introduced to Europe and America in the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, it has been a favorite bloom to signify the approach of spring. The slender branches feature clusters of creamy, white flowers with a sweet, lemony scent.
5. Tulip Magnolia: Our most-loved choice for forced winter blooms, tulip magnolia offers sculptural branches and an abundance of showy, pink flowers. Also known as the Saucer magnolia or Japanese magnolia, this ornamental favorite is equally beautiful before blooming; large, fuzzy buds dot the branches before flowers emerge.
6. Forsythia: Covered in vivid yellow blooms, forsythia branches provide a welcome burst of color in the winter home. The graceful, arching branches are very easy to force; if you have a forsythia bush in your garden, choose branches near the top of the plant that have large, closely-spaced buds to get the fullest bouquet. Once the flowers have faded, you can also root the cut branches in water for spring planting.