And some are older, things I've been doing for years without realizing that they are routine. The one thing that never changes is my daily entry into my gardening journal.......
This is the second 10 year journal that I've had from Lee Valley and I try to write in it most days. It's become a routine to check the outdoor temperature each morning and record it. Then during gardening season, I'll make little notes about what's happening. But at this time of year, it's main purpose is to track weather patterns and record the status of my houseplants. I love to look back and see what the day was like last year, the year before and so on. It's really interesting to see how similar things are year to year - how a deep freeze seems to come the last week of January most years, how there's always a thaw in mid-February, etc.
So this morning I was surprised to see that last year this time, there was no snow on the ground and that I had ventured out to cut down some magnolia branches for forcing. The photos shown here were taken in mid-March last year, two weeks after cutting the branches.
With this year's deep freeze, I don't think the buds are even swelling yet. So I'll have to wait a few weeks before attempting to force them this year.
Forcing branches is really quite simple to do and can be accomplished with a number of flowering shrubs and trees - forsythia, flowering quince, flowering almond, witch hazel, apple and other fruit trees and of course, the majestic magnolia.
Just get a good pair of clippers and clip some branches from your garden making sure that the buds have started to swell a bit. I like to acclimatize them by letting them sit in a pail of cool water overnight. Then I trim the bottoms of the branches and place them in room temperature water in a decorative container - here I used an antique tomato jar. This year I'll be forcing my forsythia in glass bottles like these to sit on the kitchen table:
But thanks to my garden journal and my morning routine of marking the weather, I realize I'll have to wait a few more weeks before heading out to start this other (yearly) routine of forcing branches for an early spring show.
Boy this post really took a turn halfway, sorry. As usual, I started out being all reflective and deep and quickly turned it into something task oriented. No wonder the only journal I can keep is one that records things instead of thoughts.