Tag Archives: bloom

Keeping a Garden Journal

Do you keep a garden diary or journal? It seems an excellent idea to keep everything in one place but I doubt I will ever be able to use a small bound book for everything I want to know about my plants and my garden! Some things I track include a plant’s:

  • Nomenclature, history and culture
  • Date, cost and source
  • Original plant tag or seed packet
  • Date and location planted
  • Date and location moved (My plants need wheels! Who said that?)
  • Date of demise or MIA if necessary

However, none of this info is catalogued in a nice neat packet such as a bound journal.  I have used multiple methods of logging my desired info. I have lists on 3 X 5 cards, envelope backs, magnetic grocery tablets, a different blog, a desktop and a laptop. Not one year have I yet to achieve my holy grail of 52 weeks of records all in one place. I figure my best bet is to blog it all.

The info I want most to be able to access quickly over the years is what bloomed when. Each year I keep notes of what plants are blooming any given week. If I know who blooms when I figure I can coordinate my garden groupings better.

So today I begin my new bloom journal. These plants are blooming in my garden this week:

Bulbs: Narcissi ‘Poeticus’, Muscari, giant alliums, a pink tulip, Star of Bethlehem, Hyacinthoides (white, pink, purple and blue)

Perennials: Columbine, Solomon’s Seal, Thalictrum, sweet woodruff, bearded iris, Primula, Geranium, Forget-me-nots, creeping phlox, Lunaria, Ajuga, Tradescantia,Trillium, Brunnera

Shrubs/trees: Azalea, Japanese flowering quince and dogwood

I’m sure I’ll improve my record keeping and system – after all it’s a work-in-progress. How do you track your bloom times? Do you keep a garden diary or journal? What info do you list?

4 Easy Steps to Force Shrubs into Bloom


Notice the shell pink flowers.

Japanese flowering quince branches forced into bloom.

Flowering quince May 2011

Indoor flowers are a rare and welcome sight in late winter. So, last week on a warm February day, I cut several branches from my flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) for forcing.  I love the delicate shell-pink flowers and am fascinated that their outdoor spring flowers bloom red. I’ve added a list of other flowering trees and shrubs that are said to force well at the bottom of this article. If you have tried forcing branches please let me know in the comments section.

If you follow these four simple steps you can force your own branches into welcome winter floral displays:

  1. On a late winter day cut some branches with swelling buds from a flowering shrub. If you’re feeling industrious you can also prune the shrub as you gather your branches but be careful not to cut out too many buds or you’ll lose your spring floral display.
  2. Bring the cut branches indoors and immerse into warm water. You can increase water uptake by slashing the bottom of the cut branches with pruners or smash them with a hammer (very satisfying). However I’ve found this unnecessary when I procrastinated and they began to sprout leaves.  Since my flowering quince branches have ferocious thorns, I prune these out now too.
  3. Expose your branches to light and heat; I sit my container in front of a register in a sunny room. I know some people say to keep them cool and dark but this works for me.
  4. Voila! The buds will begin to swell in a week or two; prune your branches to fit a vase and make your arrangement. Enjoy!    

Additional spring-flowering shrubs to cut for forcing include:

  • Chinese and Japanese witch hazels (Hamamelis mollis)
  • Forsythia
  • Deutzia
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Pussy willow (Salix discolor)
  • Rhododendron
  • Azalea
  • Mountain laurel
  • Lilac
  • Bridal wreath spirea (Spirea prunifolia)
  • Carolina silverbell
  • Viburnum
  • Magnolia
  • Winter jasmine
  • Mock orange (Philadelphus spp.)
  • Crabapple (Malus spp.)
  • Flowering dogwood (Cornus spp.)
  • Flowering fruit trees such as cherries and plums (Prunus spp,)