The story below is an excerpt from our Jan./Feb. 2016 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
—Lady Bird Johnson
The world outside my window is hibernating. Trees raise leafless branches up to the sky and many of the animals are tucked away in cozy dens breathing slowly as they wait for warmer days. The pace of my days has slowed as well. The garden is asleep and the sun, which is riding the southern edge of the horizon, doesn’t give much in the way of warmth. We are not too far into the winter season and I am already longing for spring.
While spring doesn’t officially occur in the mountains until after mud season, which is most of March, I know that I can speed things along just a little bit as early as late January. That’s when the seed catalogs will begin bringing bright joy to my mailbox. But, it’s also when I can begin forcing branches brought in from outside to bloom.
My yard is full of forsythia and lilac. Those bare branches pointing up to a chilly blue sky are just like sleeping princesses in a fairy tale waiting for the warm kiss of spring. But I don’t intend to let them wait that long. As soon as there are some days above freezing I will go out and cut armloads of branches. Then I will bring them into my house and put them in water and place them on a sunny windowsill. In just a week or two the flower buds will fatten and then burst open with joyful abandon, bringing spring inside with them.
If you’ve never done this before, you’ll discover it’s a great way to beat the winter blues. I love the contrast of yellow forsythia against a frosty window or lavender lilacs against the soft light of snowy fields.