To start the early blooming process, depending on what plants you have outdoors, with a sharp knife or shears, clip a few branches off a shrub or tree you know will bloom later in the season. When you cut the branch, be sure to make an angled cut to allow proper growth later. Immediately place each branch into water.
It is best to cut the branches when the temperature is above freezing (32 degrees). Once you are done gathering the branches, bring them inside and strip all buds, twigs, and leaves from the lower section that will be under water.
To enhance water absorption, use a utility knife to open up the bottom of the branch. Simply pare away an inch or two of the bark from the base of the branch. For woody branches, smash the bottom base to open the bark up and allow more water to be absorbed.
Once you have collected the desired branches, set the vase or bucket of water in a cooler place indoors, such as a basement, garage, or mudroom. You’ll want to try to emulate a spring environment as best as possible. That is, cool, moist atmosphere away from direct, bright sunlight. The standing water can go bad fairly quickly, so adding a homemade preservative is a good idea, along with changing the water once a week, or when the water starts to discolor.