Mary and I went for a walk yesterday to retrieve her cell phone left at work last week and along the way we saw all these beautiful Magnolia trees snapped to pieces from the heavy snow. If you've never smelled raw bark from Magnolia branches, you're really missing something special! The aroma is a delicious sweet, tropical kind that makes you want to stick the branch up your nose to smell all the time....however, I don't recommend you actually do that as it might cause some nasty scratches.
Anyways, Mary said she knew how to force blooms, so instead of leaving the budding branches to rot in the snow, we picked some of the strong ones with multiple buds and brought them back condition them and start forcing blooms. For those of you who don't know how to do that (I was one of them as of yesterday), you take a hammer and smash open the stem to allow for lots of water absorption, peel off some of the leaves so that the blooms get most of the water, and then stick the stems in a vase of water in a sunny, warm place and wait for flowers! I'll keep you posted on the Magnolia progress :)