Thursday, March 29, 2007

Forsythia -- Born to Be Wild?

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...

Like many shrubs and trees, forsythia propagates itself by sending up suckers -- that is, new sprouts from its roots. In most lawns, the suckers are mowed off frequently, so it usually takes a few years for a bush to creep out and become a clump.

In 15 years, the old forsythia on the edge of our south bank has expanded a little. It used to be a big clump and a small clump. Now it is one big(ger!) clump.

It doesn't bloom well, even when I prune it. I suppose fertilizer might help it. It's not a bush I'm fond of, but I would never take it out because the little birds love it so in winter. I see them sitting in it all the time.

I have a couple of new forsythia bushes that bloom in a profusion of brash, blatant yellow. They are "Beatrix Farrand" forsythias -- a cultivar known for the brilliance of its blossoms. They're so yellow that they're almost insulting to my eyes. I prefer their fall blooms which are much more subdued!

To tell the truth, forsythia is not one of my favorite shrubs, but I do like the way it looks where the bush has been allowed to spread naturally. In the photo where it's growing in the trees, I suppose it could even be called invasive!

Forsythia thicketAlong Highway 68/80
east of Hopkinsville, KY
Another forsythia thicketForsythia by an old barn
in rural Christian Co.

And this is a look that I personally don't care for at all -- forsythia trimmed into a un-natural manicured hedge.


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Mark said...

I have mixed feelings about forsythia. For most of the year they are a pretty undistinguished-looking plant, but when they are in bloom they are pretty. I have been considering planting some in our yard to replace the thick growth of blackberry, honeysuckle and other unidentified things.

Genevieve said...

Good luck at getting rid of that honeysuckle if it's honeysuckle vine you are talking about.

My new forsythias look good in spring while in bloom and in fall when their foliage is burgundy. The rest of the time, they are bland but not offensive. I'll say one thing -- they tolerate a dry place fairly well.

I think lilacs are a nice-looking shrub even when not in bloom, and also spirea has a nice shape.

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