Forcing branches into full-on flowers is a simple garden fix for the last days of winter.
Photo: Erica George Dines
Using sharp, clean pruners, give each branch a fresh cut at the base of the stem. An old way to encourage water flow was to smash the stem end with a hammer, but a better method is to make a vertical slit or two up into the end of each stem. This allows water to reach the swelling buds, ensuring big, happy flowers.