A Cure for Spring Fever

January 14, 2021 Newsletter

Forsythia branches blooming in February

Forcing Spring Branches

Light up your house with “forced” Spring branches. There are many trees and shrubs that set their buds in autumn.  After those trees and shrubs have been in cold temperatures (typically below 40F), they can be forced to bloom under the right conditions. There is no happier sight in winter than Spring blooms.

Last year, I learned you could do the same thing with leaf buds.  I forced hornbeam and Japanese maple leaves to bud during February. I’ve intentionally left branches of my hornbeam and Japanese maple to force this season too.

The photograph below shows a bouquet including hornbeam branches I forced last season.

Forced Hornbeam stems blooming in February

If you’re interested in learning more about the different varieties of trees and shrubs that are perfect for forcing, check out these helpful articles. The article by the University of Vermont Extension office provides recommendations based on time of year which is really helpful.

How To Force Branches article by Fine Gardening

The University of Vermont Extension – Forcing Flowering Branches

Winter Sowing

If you’re short on space and don’t have a lot of time to fuss around with starting seeds indoors, I suggest you try Winter Seed Sowing.  There’s a lot of seeds that can be Winter sown including milkweed, coneflower, and black-eyed Susan. If the seed packs suggest the seeds need to be pre-chilled, that’s a good indication they can be sown in Winter.

Here are two great articles that give details on how to sow seeds in Winter.

Winter Sowing: A Simple Way to Successfully Grow Seeds Outdoors

Success Winter Seed Sowing Penn State Extension

My Maidenhair fern I over-wintered

How to Successfully Grow Maidenhair Fern

I decided to overwinter my Maidenhair fern. I had the plant inside for about a week when almost every leaf turned brown. It seemed to happen overnight. Yikes! I thought I killed the poor thing.

Luckily, I found this article and learned that you can’t let the soil of a Maidenhair fern dry out. I learned some great tips and tricks in this article and I’m happy to report my fern is doing great.

How to Grow Maidenhair Fern

Vegetable garden at Barnsley House

Learn How and Why You Should Rotate Your Vegetable Crops

If you grow vegetables, practicing crop rotation will ensure a healthy garden each season. If you’re looking for articles that give easy-to-follow instructions on how to rotate crops, look no further. I found two helpful articles on the Bonnie Plants website.

Rotating Vegetable Crops for Garden Success

Crop Rotation Made Easy

The Most Popular Articles in Last Year’s Newsletters


In case you missed it, these were the articles you clicked on the most last year.  

Garden Illustrated List of the Best Garden Books of 2020

June and December’s Specimen Collecting Kit

Wakefield Pottery’s Piecrust Container

How to Make Dried Orange Garlands (I love this project!)

That’s it for this week. Spring will be here before we know it. Until then, I’d love to see your photos if you force any branches this season or do any Winter sowing. Once my branches start blooming, I’ll post them on Instagram. I’m looking forward to seeing your photos too.

So, I have a favor to ask. My goal with this newsletter is to provide you as much value and inspiration as possible. Can you leave a comment below and tell me your biggest goals and challenges for your garden this year and what kind of information you need to help you meet your gardening goals? Thanks so much.

Thinking Happy Garden Thoughts,

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