By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I found some broken branches on the ground after our spring snowstorm. They had buds, so I put them in water to see if I could force them into blooming – it’s a good idea to make vertical cuts in the end of the branch or even smash it with a hammer to open it up so it can drink in the water.

Some of my branches had fuzzy buds – they’re from a magnolia tree. The other buds were big dark brown shiny and a little bit sticky – they’re from a horse chestnut tree. Within a day, the horse chestnut buds started opening and I measured the bud growing – from less than an inch long to two inches, and then three, and four inches long – as the large green leaves began unfurling around the conical flower within.

So far my magnolia buds are a bit fatter, but they haven’t yet opened, and although I’m hoping they do, the buds alone are a very pretty way to enjoy the promise of spring, even on chilly or rainy days, without ever stepping outside.

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