Mid-winter is feeling like spring with days in the 70's here in California. I cut some flowering quince from my front yard and fell down a rabbit hole.
Hellebores I picked earlier in the week at my mom's with a beautiful lichen covered branch that fell down one windy night a few weeks ago that I've been saving.
Muscari take me back to childhood and remind me of little flower fairies with their tiny florets and the blue is other worldly. Mine started pushing flowers in October! They're one of my most favorite flowers (my list is very long and changes with the season).
I love watching the quince fade out to a pale petal pink. I remember the days when people didn't want Coral Charm peonies because of the fade that is admired so much today. Oh, the ever changing floral trends.
My preferred floral tools have always been No. 2 Felcos and a pair of Joyce Chen snips (they can wear through pretty quickly but are the best size for me and have good action while they are sharp, they also fit nicely in your back pocket, most get accidentally thrown away). For the longest life of your quince or any flowering branch, scrape down the sides on the bottom inch or so with your Felco's (or knife) and cut on a diagonal with at least one sharp cut up the stem, sometime's I'll do two (like a cross). For more tender woody stems like snowball viburnum or lilac, smash stems with a hammer (or back of shears) after you scrape the stems. You will get the longest life-span from your flowers by properly conditioning so don't skip.