By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In Europe, they’re often called Easter trees, but all around the world lots of people like to bring branches inside this time of year and put them in a vase of water, then wait for them to open. It’s known as ‘forcing’ because your warm house pushes the buds to open sooner than they would outside when it’s still cold.

Cherry and quince branches are flowery and easy to force, but you can try it with all kinds of trees and shrubs.

Last week, after it snowed, I was out walking with my doggie and picked up some branches that had snapped and fallen in the storm. They looked dead but I brought them inside, cut the ends and put them in water, and now I’m enjoying the fuzzy magnolia buds and shiny horse chestnut buds and waiting to see when they’ll unfurl their flowers and leaves.

Forcing branches doesn’t have to be about any holiday in particular. It’s really just a pretty way to watch Nature up close while celebrating the rebirth that is the hallmark of Spring.

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