Via email a reader asks, "How can I force flowers into bloom?" Never force anything, just use a bigger hammer. Let's assume that the flowers in question are spring flowering trees and shrubs, or maybe bulbs. The general rule is fairly simple: if some color is showing then they are usually quite easy to force into bloom providing you with a bouquet a week or more early. Almost any bulb will flower if picked at the mature flower stage. Flowering shrubs need a bit of help to force the flowers open. Take your hammer (thought this was a joke?) and pound the bottom inch or so of the twig to fray the stem. This provides more surface area for the uptake of water. Srubs force best in coolish conditions, so don't place them in hot or sunny locations even if they look nice there. Just before this late March cold spell, the Phactor clipped some twigs of Forsythia,Abeliophyllum (sort of like a dwarf forsythia with white pink flowers - picture from link provided), spice bush (Lindera benzoin), and Nanking cherry (Prunus tomentosa). All the flower buds were showing just the tips of the corolla, and all of them flowered quite nicely and when paired with some early daffodils, are quite cheerful. And if you look at things critically, you might be able to remove some parts that needed pruning anyways.