Forsythia

Spring has arrived and while there is a light film of green on many shrubs and trees, yellow, demands our attention, as the Forsythia blooms.

forsythia bush

Photo: OliBac (flickr)

Its bright star-shaped flowers appear on bare stems, just before the leaves come out.

Spring has arrived and while there is a light film of green on many shrubs and trees, yellow, demands our attention, as the Forsythia blooms. An Englishman, Sir Charles Forsyth, gave his name to this shrub.

It grows in any soil and in sun or light shade. Its bright star-shaped flowers appear on bare stems, just before the leaves come out. If you cut the branches either in bud or in bloom, remember to hammer or crush the woody stems so they can take up plenty of water.

After forsythia bushes bloom, prune out any thick, woody older branches, leaving the young growth for flowering next year. Be careful where you plant them, as they can quickly take over. Also, after their spring display they are not especially interesting to look at so should not be allowed to dominate a small garden.

Short But Sweet

Their moment of glory, while magnificent, is of short duration. While most of us don’t want these exuberant fellows in our flowerbeds, they make marvelous hedges, or can be planted as specimens in a part of the garden where it is ok for them to be quiet or unobtrusive once their spring glory is past.

Like some pets, and maybe some children we have encountered, forsythia bushes are wonderful when at their best but have a tendency to unruliness.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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