Sunday, February 27, 2011

Forcing Branches!

Tricking branches of flowering shrubs and trees into blooming early is known as "Forcing Branches". It is a great way brighten up your home and also a great reminder that spring is around the corner! The most successful branches to use are ones from forsythia, cherry, and crabapple, but any bloomer can be forced.  Here are our tips for forcing branches:

1) Cut branches about 3 to 6 weeks before normal blooming season, it is easiest to force branches when their buds begin to plump

2) Put the branches in water with in 20 minutes of cutting. Place them in a container with a teaspoon of bleach to kill bacteria that may rot the branches. It is also necessary to keep the upper parts of the branches moist as well; spray them frequently with a misting bottle.

3) Now cover and keep them cool. Ideal temperature would be 50 degrees at night and 60 degrees in the day time. A garage is an ideal place for this stage, as light is not needed.

4) Once blooms begin to appear, arrange branches in a decorative vase and place them in a sunny spot. As the blooms open, change the water weekly and remove from direct sun light.

Let us know if you have any questions!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Snow Damage

As the snow melts keep your eyes out for damage to your shrubs and trees, especially to evergreens. This has been a really rough winter and now it is time to repair or replace! To repair you may need to prune and/or support limbs for regrowth and this needs to be done asap in order to give the plant the best chance to bounce back quickly. Replacing the tree or shrub may also be your only option. It would be a good idea to replace it with a different plant than what is existing because that tree or shrub obviously is not the best choice for that location. Let us know if you need some advice or installation on your replacement trees or shrubs!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Take a look at our new facebook page at!/pages/The-Secret-Gardeners/156713464365856 ! We have posted lots of pictures from our 2010 season and would love to hear what you think!

Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Perennial of the Year!

Amsonia hubrichtii (Arkansas Blue Star)
We are so excited that this amazing perennial is finally getting the recognition it deserves! We have been using it for years and it really is a spectacular specimen. It is primarily known for its delicate foliage and pale blue star-shaped flowers in the spring. Other characteristics include amazing golden-yellow fall color and tolerance to the New England climate.