As long as you are pruning, don’t waste branches that bear the buds of spring flowers. Branches of most spring-flowering trees and shrubs, such as forsythia, redbud, flowering quince, flowering almond, cherry, and pussy willows, will bloom indoors if you place them in water.
Choose your container and fill it with warm water. Give the branches a fresh cut on a diagonal with a sharp knife before you place them in the vase. A diagonal cut exposes more surface area for the branch to absorb water.
Place the vase in bright but indirect light, away from drafts or heat sources such as heating registers. Change the water every few days. Depending on the species, it may take a week or two before the indoor warmth forces the branches to bloom. The blooms will last longer if the vase is kept in a cooler room.
To learn more about flowering shrubs and trees, check out the class Landscape Plants: Early Spring Trees & Shrubs, meeting on two Thursday evenings and a Saturday beginning April 11.