Wednesday, March 04, 2009


"Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

~ Forced Forsythia

GARDENING TIP: Buckle your galoshes, grab a pail and pruning shears ... trudge through snow or swampy lawn and snip forsythia branches all the way to the main stem. Back inside, fill bucket with cold water and let rest 24 hours. Tomorrow, snip ends and arrange in container or vase, stripping leaves and buds below water line. Bursting buds will appear in a week or two.
~ 'Primavera' means 'Spring' in Italian
1 lb. penne pasta or bow-tie (farfalle)

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large minced sweet onion like Vidalia
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. diagonally cut asparagus (snap off woody stems)
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
3 diagonally thinly sliced carrots
1 matchstick sliced yellow pepper
1 matchstick sliced orange pepper
1 hefty cup frozen peas
1 pint grape tomatoes
10-oz. fresh stemmed baby spinach
1 bunch chopped fresh basil
coarse salt & fresh cracked black pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Heat wok or deep skillet. Add butter, olive oil, onion, garlic and pepper flakes. Saute until onion is limp. Add asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, and peppers and stir-fry until almost tender. Season with salt & pepper.
  • Add peas and tomatoes. Cook until peas are thawed and tomatoes heated. Add spinach and fresh basil. Toss until spinach is slightly wilted.
  • Serve over pasta cooked al dente. Top with slivers of chopped basil. Serve with plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and loaf of crusty Italian bread, dipped in balsamic & freshly ground pepper infused olive oil.


Heather BT said...

It'll be coming soon enough, and then I'll be back to work and you'll be stopping in to buy lovelies.
See You
Heather BT

Marysol said...

Lovely and colorful sign of Spring! Joey, your pictures always brighten my day.

Btw, I know you're devoted gardener, but, I don't think the MGA would be amused by your technique of forcing Forsythia, to do anything.

However, you're a good friend, so I won't report you, this time.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hello Joey

Now that I've read your post I'm going to cut some Forsythia tomorrow!


Shady Gardener said...

What a great idea! Thanks. And, as always, I wish I were eating at YOUR house tonight! :-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

I'd like to try that. We used to force pussy willows. I've heard you can also force fruit trees but I've never had any luck.

Dave said...

I do prefer the farfalle over penne but I think in this case I'd make an exception. Still, I don't yet have that way-cool wok tossing technique down yet. ;-)

JGH said...

Thanks for the reminder! I'm gonna get out there and cut some. We still have snow on the ground and I'm afraid I'm impatient to see some color.

Rose said...

Joey, I would go right out now and cut some forsythia...if I had
any:( I've always loved the forsythia blooms, and as soon as I figure out a good place for one, I'm going to plant one!

Before I leave here, I am going to copy this recipe so I don't forget it--I love any kind of pasta!

Gail said...

Hi Joey, Fantastic recipe...primavera has always been a favorite and I love penne's my favorite. When we moved into this house there was a narrow hedge across the front has grown into a 50+ foot forsythia hedge that blooms beautifully every spring. I am very grateful to the original home owner for planting it. I still force some branches every year! I hope yours fill your house with springtime. gail

joey said...

Dear Heather ~ I hunt for you before treasured plants! Yes, spring ... good hugs, good talks, then off .... You are a huge reason why English Gardens is special. Prayers for your heartfelt dreams to come true. Let spring hold our dreams :)

Dearest Marysol, I treasure good friends that turn their eye. Torture for one is tweeking for another ... much like extracting truth!

Yea Rob! Grab those pruning shears. Trust me, if you've not captured these beauties (and other fruit bearing blossoms) to enjoy inside before out, you'll thank me. It prolongs spring that we all long for :)

Dear Shady ... 'food for thousands' is the way my husband describes our kitchen. Please come, in fact, wish you were here :) Just wiped the last dish ... kids & grandboys left stuffed but, my mother's daughter, always more to share :)

Hi Marnie ~ I force everything I can grab with pruning shears in the garden ... besides forsythia, Yoshino cherry, crabapple, etc. ... all are powerful, heralding spring and making a winter soul sing :)

Grab any large skillet and saute, Dave. Just keep those veggies moving :) Regarding pasta, any favorite will do ... that's the glory!

JGH ~ laughed because snow was so deep until it rained, I needed wading boots to cut the branches. Forcing branches is a delightful way to welcome spring ...

Hi Rose ~ wow, I'd take you for a forsythia lover. Actually, wish my hedge could shine naturally but I must extensively prune, somewhat a shame :( but this winter pruning, and severe pruning throughout the summer helps keep the hedge contained.

joey said...

It won't be long now, Gail! Your brillant forsythia hedge must be a delight to see after a long winter. I have 3 - 33 yr. old 'Lynwood Gold' (Forsythia x intermedia) beneath 2 'old' revered male Mulberry trees and the neighborhood is ablaze in fiery yellow.

beckie said...

Joey, I have missed seeing your delightful photos. Nothing says spring quite like a big blooming bush of forsythia does it? I have some twigs I am trying to root. Hopefully next year I will have my own to force.

Love Pasta Penne and this one sounds delicious!

Thank you for your lovely comment. You are such a dear to me. :}

bg_garden said...

Good Thursday to you Joey! You gave me something to blog about tomorrow after heading out today to cut back my forsythia. Wonderful advice and I will be sure to give the credit to you on my blog.
I am wondering if you know of any Greenhouses in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. I will be in the area in a week and was hoping to see what Michigan growers are up to!

Looking forward to hearing from you dear friend.

Anonymous said...

Joey...this recipe sounds absolutely scrumptious. I am going to try it this week for sure! I just wish I had some forsythia to force for decorating the dinner table! Kim

Kylee Baumle said...

I decided not to snip the forsythia this year, but I did the pussy willows! I've got fuzzy pussy toes in my entry way right now! Love it!

joey said...

So good to hear from you, Beckie! I think of you often and hope all is well. Take care, dear caretaker. Prayers surround you!

Hi Bren ... great snipping weather for forsythia! Ann Arbor is a bit out of the way to visit garden centers but but delightful Monica @ Garden Faerie's Musings: lives there and I'm sure is a wealth of knowledge. Have fun in Michigan!

With so much happening, Kim, hope you have time to spend in the kitchen. You might not have forsythia to force but new life certainly surrounds you :)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Forsythia is always so divinely sunny looking, isn't it? I just love it.


TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Most wonderful collage Jodi, it reminds me to cut some Forsythia.
Lovely yellow blooms!
I wish you a great and sunny weekend.

Take Care Tyra

joey said...

I'm envious, Kylee ... I don't have pussy willows in my yard so 'forced' to buy them. Enjoy the 'heatwave' weekend :)

Indeed Cindy ... forcythia shout ~'Welcome Spring'!

Thanks Tyra! Expecting near record breaking (62) temps here today and heavy rain over the weekend, which is fine 'cause I'm heading north, hoping to snowshoe/cross-country ski one last time before winter ends.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful forsythia photo, I wish they were hardier in zone 4, they seem to grow here in Iowa but bloom only in years that we have had a mild winter, which we have not had in several year. Great collages!

joey said...

Most kind, Iowa ... I'm sure you have many unique treasures that we can't grow here. Thank you for stopping by (wish I could share a few branches with you :)

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