Three weeks ago, on a day when I was especially longing for spring, I cut some dogwood branches and brought them inside. I put them in water in a pottery vase on the dining room table. The buds were tiny, and so tightly closed that it seem unlikely that anything special would come of them. But, as I've discovered in the past, dogwoods aren't especially fussy about being forced. They're starting to open now, and I can watch a small preview of spring every time I walk past the table.