The Darling Buds of Marc

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Our gardening columnist Vandra Costello shares her top tips?on beautiful, easy, accessible spring flower arrangements...

Gardeners know to look for budding stems at this time of the year. Spring flowering shrubs brought indoors in flower barely last a couple of days - the petals start to fall off immediately and the whole thing is a bit of a wasted exercise. However, if you get in early and pick the plant before it has even come into leaf you will have a really lovely and long lasting display. Even the most unprepossessing of deciduous tree and shrub has the most wonderful early buds.

Collecting and arranging flower buds is a simple and incredibly effective way to decorate the house easily and cheaply. Here's what to do...

You will need garden secateurs and a large plastic bag or basket to carry your stems home.

When you spot a tree or shrub with stems in bud - especially if the stem itself is a good colour - cut a good,?long piece. The longer the better - they will look fantastic in oversized, tall vases and containers. Look for: hawthorns, larch, pussy willows, witch hazel and quince. Chestnut, sycamore and any other tree in bud will also look good.


Arrange the stems artistically in a vase and remember to keep topping up with fresh water, especially if the central heating is on, and watch as the leaf buds open and the flowers spring into bloom.

Follow Vandra on Twitter, pick up the brand-new March/April issue for her indispensable spring gardening advice, and read her tips on the art of the allotment.


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