Some of the most beautiful spring blossoms are found on trees: apple, cherry, and pear trees are all in fragrant, spectacular bloom right now. Flowering branches cost quite a lot at the florist shop, but there are much cheaper ways to put some spring blossoms on your table.
Do you have apple trees in your neighborhood? Pear? Crab-apple? Spring isn't the best time to prune fruit trees, but some people will be trimming and pruning extra growth on their trees right now. Why not scavenge a small cutting for your dining table or mantel? If you have trees like these and you see someone pruning, grab a branch or two!
Or ask if you can remove small fresh growth from the inner trunk of the tree. Fruit trees should be pruned clear in the middle, where fresh growth just saps energy and nutrients from the more established and fruit-bearing branches. Be careful if you prune a tree yourself, though; it should be done carefully and with very sharp pruners. Read up a little on it before attempting it yourself, and of course always ask the owner first!
But don't stop at fruit trees; magnolias and redbuds have gorgeous foliage too. Magnolia flowers often drop to the ground as they mature; see if you can keep one in a small bowl of water.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of leggy adolescent apple trees in the back yard. They need serious pruning, and even though I am not attempting the full job myself, I did clear away some junk from the center of the tree branches. Well, it's junk to the tree, but it's beautiful to me. These snippets have been gracing the coffee table for several days now, and if you put your nose close and sniff, they smell like sweet, sweet spring.
The vase, by the way, is a wonderful find from CB2. It's no longer available online, but it may still be in the stores.
• Inline Box Vase, $4 at CB2
Do you have any trees to prune, or neighbors with flowering trees? What are your favorite fruit tree blossoms?
(Images: Faith Durand)