In some places tree buds have already opened to reveal new flowers and leaves. If it’s not quite spring where you live, you can bring some buds inside and encourage them to bloom early.
On a warmish day, head outside with a pair of sharp pruning shears. Look for swollen, plump buds. Cut the branches at an angle and long enough that they can be put into a jar of water.
To make sure your branches don’t dry out, try smashing the bottoms gently to make it easier for the branches to take up water. For the first week or so, keep your branches in a cool location out of direct sunlight. Cover the branches loosely with a plastic bag or spray them with a water mist to keep them from drying out. When the water gets cloudy, fill the jar with fresh water.
After a few days move your branches into a sunny window. After a few weeks you should see your buds blooming.
For the best success try these trees and shrubs: azalea, crab apple, forsythia, magnolia, pussy willow, redbud, rhododendron, serviceberry, witch hazel, cherries, pears and apples.
You can help scientists keep track of when plants bloom by becoming a Project BudBurst buddy. Find out more here.