After all of the hoopla and decorations from the winter holiday celebrations are taken down and put away, I often feel a bit let down, bereft even. While I always save my gift amaryllis bulbs and Paper-whites for after the holidays, to ease my melancholy, they soon pass and the brief brilliant homage to L.O.V.E. that is Valentine’s Day fade all too soon.

Winter is bleak, and my mood would be as dreary and gray as the snowless landscape of March if it were not for the treasure trove of beauty, shrouded in grays, that abounds in my garden. My remedy, for years, has been the successive cutting of winter dormant branches. I cut armloads of Witch Hazel, Korean Jasmine, Forsythia, Quince, Magnolia, Almond, Plum, White Cherry, Kwanzan Cherry, Peach, Lilacs and Dogwood, bringing them indoors to “force them”. When these uninspiring looking branches are put in warm water and placed in a bright window, magic happens: flower buds swell and burst into bloom!