Flowering branches are a great way to add depth and height to any arrangement. At Illinois Willows, we grow forsythia, viburnum snowball, cherry, flowering dogwood, quince, redbud, and lilacs. In this blog post we’ll share more about each of these popular spring flowering branches and how you can use them in your spring arrangements. Flowering branches with their fragrant blooms can sometimes be a spectacular display of spring. Depending on mother nature (winter) some years the bloom display on the early plants may be marginal with their colorful display.
The bright yellow flowers of the forsythia are a sure sign that spring has sprung and warmer weather is on the way! Forsythia is actually a shrub that is native to China and Korea but has made a comfortable home in the midwest because of its hardiness and durability. The shrub is deer tolerant (great for our area!), resistant to Japanese beetles, and has no known disease problems. Needless to say, forsythia is a popular ornamental plant for landscaping but also to highlight spring floral arrangements.
At Illinois Willows we cultivate Forsythia for our customers as a way to bring a touch of spring into their home. One way is through a stand-alone arrangement of tall stems in a glass vase or added to a woody wreath for a pop of spring color. Forsythia also adds height and a punch of color to any spring bouquet.
The viburnum snowball is another fantastic spring blooming branch. It is a deciduous shrub that can grow to be upwards of 12 feet in height and width. It’s been a favorite addition to gardens since the 16th century, and definitely one of our favorites at Illinois Willows. This variety of Viburnum is harvested when the bloom clusters are a chartreuse green prior to them turning white. At this stage, the blooms are fairly long lasting.The blooms open green in mid-spring, and later in the season turn to white flowers. The flowers develop in a round, clustered arrangement that measures 2 - 5 inches across approximately baseball size .
The “snowballs” of the viburnum snowball are showy and offer elegant additions to floral arrangements because of their abundant cluster of flowers. The cluster of flowers are so big that they make a great stand-alone display. Additionally, they’ve become a wonderful floral compliment for wedding bouquets because of their elegance and clean, classic spring colors.
The blossoms of the cherry tree signify spring and a time of renewal. The blooms, known as “sakura” in Japanese are Japan’s national flower. The flower petals are actually edible, and in Japan, are used to flavor ice cream during the spring.
Although the life of the flowers are very short, they’re an absolute pleasure to have on display. The popular fragrance of the cherry blossom, along with the delicate pink ( Kwanzan ) and white hues of the flower, make for an iconic spring bouquet or supplement to a wreath. Or, just like the forsythia, stand alone with elegance and natural beauty in a glass vase.
The flowering dogwood is native to eastern North America and Mexico. It’s white, pink, or red flowers come to life in April or May - depending on the weather. In our case this year, these flowers are just coming to bloom.
The flowering dogwood is popular amongst birds and butterflies. Although the flowers are an attractive component of this flowering branched tree - the leaves turn a bright red in the fall - extending the beauty of the flowering dogwood throughout the seasons. This makes the tree a popular landscaping option for homeowners.
At Illinois Willows we sell these popular spring flowering branches for display in a vase and also as part of our seasonal spring arrangements and bouquets.
The quince is part of the rosaceae, the rose family, which includes plums, cherries, peaches, apricots, and almonds! This family also includes a variety of herbs, shrubs, and trees. Edible fruit are common amongst the trees in this family, but in the springtime, they’re known for bearing gorgeous white, pink, and red flowers. The flowering quince falls into this category. The flowering variety doesn’t bear fruit, but instead, bears gorgeous brightly hued flowers. Their stunning early-spring display of blooms make them popular hedges in landscaping. At Illinois Willows, we love them for being amongst the earliest to bloom - making them popular at the farmers market in the early spring months.
The redbud is hardy and adaptable making it a popular choice for landscaping in our area. It has arching limbs and a rounded crown, growing to a maximum height of about 30 feet. In the early spring the branches begin to bud and eventually expose thousands of beautiful purple-pink flowers. The leaves will emerge to a bright green color and, in the fall, turn to a magnificent yellow color. We love the redbud because of the way the flowers line the branches. After a long, gray winter, these beautiful flowering branches add a perfectly delicate pop of spring.
Nothing smells like spring like the flowers of the lilac. These old-fashioned, but still very much in style, flowers are grown from shrubs and trees. They’re very common landscaping options in our area, but also grown specifically for their seven bloom colors: white, violet, blue, lavender, pink, magenta, and purple, with many shades of each. At Illinois Willows we grow double white, purple, bicolor, and and offer them in April and early May as standalone bouquets. Bring a pop of color, and the sweet seasonal smell of lilacs into your home with our lilacs.
Visit our booth at Urbana’s Market at the Square (Saturdays from May-October) or Market in the Square (Saturdays from November-April). Check out our other seasonal product offerings here available at the farmers market, by special order, and for wholesale. And be sure to keep up with Illinois Willows on Facebook and Instagram.