Step 1: Select pencil-thick branch sections 12 x 24 inches long that boast numerous plump buds. Using a sharp knife or hand pruner, cut the branch, making an angled cut at the base. Immediately place each branch in water.
Step 2: Bring the branches inside, then strip buds, twigs, and leaves from lower sections that will be under water. Use a utility knife to pare away an inch or two of bark from the base. Smash woody bases with a hammer. These openings enhance water absorption.
Step 3: Place branches in a water-filled container set in a bathtub, and give them a long, tepid shower. Wrap branches in wet newspaper, then place them in clean, lukewarm water. Move to a cool, dark spot; mist branches and change water daily. Unwrap after two or three days.
Step 4: Once the flowers have started to pop, arrange branches in a tall, water-filled vase or pitcher, and bring them into the spotlight. Set the arrangement in a bright-but-cool spot out of direct sunlight. The cooler the spot, the longer the branches will bloom.