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Forcing Spring

by habituallychic

02 . 20 . 08

It was 65 degrees here Monday in New York and this brief reprieve had me craving spring even more so I decided to force the issue literally. Forcing branches is an easy and pretty inexpensive way to brighten up your home while it’s still cold outside. Just cut the ends and arrange the branches in a sturdy vase filled with water and place in a warm spot.

My flowering quince above has not yet bloomed but is getting close. You can place the vase near your radiator to speed up the process like I have but I wouldn’t recommend leaving it there. Space is at a premium in my apartment and it’s the only place out of the way so there it is staying! Usually forced branches last about two weeks.

I like seeing the branch ends in a clear vase but many other people prefer a more decorative container such as the blue and white Asian vase seen here in House Beautiful. If you have the speace, I always think bigger is better too. It makes a more dramztic statement. If you’ve ever seen the overflowing vase of cherry blossoms at Rue 57 restaurant in New York, you’ll know what I mean!

Steven Gambrel

Apartment of Carlos Souza

Apartment of Jean Greenberg Rohatyn

Kelly Wearstler

I would have gone bigger and fuller here.

Very zen at Josie Natori’s New York home

Nate Berkus

Image from Domino Magazine

Home of Valesca Guerrand Hermes

My favorite kitchen designed by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman Williams

A beautiful display of forsythia in House Beautiful March 2008

I’m not sure how I feel about the tulips in the same vase as
the forsythia but it’s an interesing idea.

Once the weather turns warmer in April, you can
switch out the branches for fragrant lilac!

Comments Closed

  1. Hollister H. Hovey February 20, 2008 | 8:42 pm

    I LOVE the branches. Dressler, Williamsburg’s most elegant restaurant, uses them to perfect effect. The yellow version are photographed here (doesn’t do it justice), but the quince and cherry blossoms are even better.

  2. Habitually Chic February 20, 2008 | 8:52 pm

    HHH, Those are pretty! L’Orange Bleu in Soho had a huge arrangement of forsythia last year that was to die for! I think I might have to buy cherry blossoms next!

  3. SGM February 20, 2008 | 9:59 pm

    Ahhh, lovely! Just the thing I needed to see on this cloudy day.

  4. Habitually Chic February 20, 2008 | 10:01 pm

    SGM, I think it’s supposed to snow here this week! I just want winter to GO AWAY!

  5. Jane Flanagan February 21, 2008 | 12:28 am

    I’ll never get tired of this!

    I saw (was it in Martha?) a branch where they taped the flowers on… much prefer when it’s a natural (albeit with coaxing) result…

  6. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 12:32 am

    Jane, I definitely prefer real branches and it’s so easy to force them. And if you don’t live in the city, chances are you can go outside and cut some from your own yard!

  7. maison21 February 21, 2008 | 2:45 am

    i have a fruitless pear tree outside my front windows that is gorgeous when it blooms, but pretty much hideous the other 11 1/2 months of the year, and it’s blooming as i type this. so what does my stupid gardener decide to do? prune it! and lop off 80 percent of the blossoms! to make matters worse, it rained today, and took most of the petals off what few blooms remained.

    oh, well. at least i got to enjoy it a little. i hope spring comes soon for you, chic.

  8. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 2:49 am

    Oh poor Maison21! You must go out and buy yourself some branches tomorrow and force them to give you blooms. Sounds like you need them!

  9. katiedid February 21, 2008 | 3:38 am

    You have inspired me to go right out and cut some of the flowering quince in my yard. It is beautiful right now. I will take a photo tomorrow and post in your honor! 🙂

  10. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 3:43 am

    Katie, Ooooo! I can’t wait to see. Just be careful. I’ve never seen thorns as big as the ones on quince branches!

  11. Suzy February 21, 2008 | 3:58 am

    I love this look, especially with cherry blossoms – it reminds me of my time in Japan. I have the perfect tall glass vase for this too, but its in storage back in Melbourne – I must dig it out next time we are at home. And M21 I can sympathise – when I left my father-in-law in charge of finishing our renovations when we moved to HK he lopped off most of the climbing roses and jasmine we had growing in our back courtyard. I was devastated! Thankfully it has grown back…

  12. belinda graham February 21, 2008 | 11:51 am

    Such a nice, graphic change from the usual flowers. Makes me wish I had trees other than frangipanis and a Norfolk Pine. Or more so the patience to plant and care for them!

  13. annechovie February 21, 2008 | 1:10 pm

    These are wonderful examples you have chosen here. Even though everything’s in bloom down here pretty much year-round, I remember the excitement of seeing the first blooms in Spring from my childhood and past years up North. What a great way to bring the beauty indoors. There’s something so exciting about it…like little messengers of Spring.

  14. Pigtown-Design February 21, 2008 | 3:00 pm

    One of my enduring memories from childhood is friends who had a large cherry tree. We’d had a storm and a big branch fell. Since it was late winter, she put it in a huge vase and the branch bloomed. It must have been about 7 feet high! They had a double height front hall in an early 1900’s house so it was very dramatic.

  15. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 4:37 pm

    Suzy, I think cherry blossoms are the most beautiful! I’m so jealous that you were in Japan to witness them in full bloom! I’m also glad to hear that your garden is back on the mend!

  16. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 4:39 pm

    Belinda, If you don’t feel like planting them, you can always buy them like I did!

  17. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 5:20 pm

    Annechovie, I think it’s funny that I have to buy in the city what used to grow in my parent’s backyard when I was growing up.

  18. Habitually Chic February 21, 2008 | 5:21 pm

    Pigtown, What a great story! I wish you had photos too!

  19. Heather Taylor February 21, 2008 | 5:40 pm

    I love this way of bringing nature into your home. chic, elegant and earthy.

  20. Joanna Goddard February 21, 2008 | 6:59 pm

    what a BRILLIANT idea! it’s masculine and feminine at the same time. love this. i’m so inspired.

  21. M&Co February 22, 2008 | 12:03 am

    Love this post! The branches are so gorgeous! Inspired me to go out and bring in some cherry branches first thing in the morning!

  22. Me, Myself & I February 22, 2008 | 3:35 am

    What a beautiful post. So inspiring…

  23. Mélanie February 22, 2008 | 9:07 am

    love these bouquets . it seems nature is in our house ! great inspiration

  24. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 3:56 pm

    Heather, Thanks so stopping by. I love buying flowers and branches for my apt. It’s a nice treat when you live in the city!

  25. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 3:58 pm

    Joanna, I can definitely see plainer branches appealing to men who can be scared off by flowers.

  26. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 3:59 pm

    Me, Myself and I, thanks! I am so glad I bought the branches to cheer me up esp. since we just got 6 inches of snow last night!

  27. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 3:59 pm

    M&Co, Cherry branches are the best. You are so lucky! I bet they look beautiful!

  28. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 4:00 pm

    Melanie, so glad you like them!

  29. design dna February 22, 2008 | 4:56 pm

    i love that shot of the hermes home. it always inspires me.

  30. Habitually Chic February 22, 2008 | 5:02 pm

    Design DNA, I’m not sure which home you are referring to as Hermes. The one with the forsythia and tulips is from Jo Malone.

  31. heirloomgardener February 24, 2008 | 3:34 am

    I love the ideas and photos. Here’s my brief post on the topic:


    -Heirloom Gardener

  32. Ann March 10, 2008 | 4:14 pm

    Those are lovely interiors made lovelier and warm by wonderful vase and branches. What a difference those branches made in the rooms. Lovely, just plain and simple loveliness. Thanks for sharing.:-)