The Way I Like Forsythia

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So Courtenay (of The Creek Line House) was all talking about forsythia on facebook over the weekend and she got me thinking about one of the most popular harbingers of spring.  NOw, some hate forsythia for its gaudy yellow blooms, but I must say I am a fan.  Well, I take that back.  I am a half fan of forsythia.  When it is shaved like a 50's basketball forward's crew cut -- well that is plain ugly.  The little blooms struggle when pruned in fall and the look ends up being a half-hearted yellow, polka dot bikini on the hedge next to the sidewalk.  Ugly.  Don't do it.

Then there are the forsythia plants that are tortured into perfectly round balls.  Those aren't pretty either.    You see, forsythia is a showy plant.  She likes to wave her arms, chock full of blossoms and great spring like a long lost friend from long ago.  She wants to grow big and blousy and taming her just makes a mess of everything.  If you are planting a forsythia, give her room to grow and expect her to be bodacious   If you choose to heavily prune a forsythia, you might as well rip it out of the ground.  It is just uglifying your yard.  ...and trust me, that bombacious plant would rather die than be subjected to those pruners every spring.

To make things a little more clear, THIS is a good and wild forsythia.  

THIS is bad.  THIS, THIS and THIS are too. 

I've linked directly to photos to protect the innocent bad pruning criminals of forsythia crime...

NOW.  Onto the ways I DO like forsythia.  First and foremost, I like her wild and I like to see her with friends.  A single forsythia can be cute and quaint in a small yard, but the most impressive displays use at least 3 mature bushes (if not 300).  The great thing about forsythia is that it starts off as a cheap plant when you first buy it and then it just gets cheaper and cheaper as you propagate it.

Propogation of forsythia is simply a matter of snipping off a new branch (around the size of a pencil that is still green -- not woody) and placing it into the ground in spring.  Let the spring rains do their job and by next spring, that little stick should show off with its own little flower show.  Plant 100 of these in a field and WOW - spring has ARRIVED.

Budded bush ready to bloom when forsythia show is over (See the yellow in the background?)
 The forsythia in my yard is nestled behind other bushes that will bloom in the summer and fall.  I love forsythia this way because it allows the plant to grow big and crazy, but the somewhat unsightly ankles that become bare in old age are covered.  The yellow blooms seem to want to jump out from behind their restraining bushmates in spring and then retreat into a beautiful green backdrop for blooms all summer and fall long.

Like I said though, I prefer forsythia in GIANT drifts, so my favorite stand around here is that of "the farmer".  We know his name, but prefer to just refer to him as "the farmer" - king of his cattle domain and certainly duke of forsythia each spring.  Now tell me THAT isn't pretty.

He even has a bank of forsythia bordering his driveway.  How wildly wonderful is that?

Of course the real show stopper in our area are the literal walls of forsythia bordering the parking lot at Hershey Park.

This is just the beginning...It goes on and on...

and on and on and on...

...and on a side note:

Now you must forgive my "drive-by" photo taking of all these forsythia drifts.  
The camera work is shoddy, but the forsythia is oh so dreamy, don't you think?

Bordering the road is beautiful...

...and giving your house a front border?  GORGEOUS.

NOW.  If you must torture your forsythia by pruning it when it is small, please PLEASE at least prune right after they bloom in spring so that you won't lose blooms on NEXT year's plants.  These little balls of yellow are ALMOST ok :)  (...but you REALLY, really should let your forsythia live free.  At least that is the way I like it.)

So now it is YOUR turn.  How do YOU like forsythia?

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Susanne Davis said…
Great... now I want to go get some Forsythia! :)
Cynthia Weber said…
I love Forsythia... but I like to call it for Cynthia... naturally :)
Ooo! A post just for me! We're kindred forsythia spirits, I think. I like it best in giant wild bushes that looks like they've been there forever, taking over half the yard of old abandoned farmhouses. That's my favorite. I still haven't picked up (or sneakily pruned) any of my own so I loved this post full of happy yellow goodness.
Andrea said…
OMG, if anybody will say it is just pretty, i wonder what is happening inside his/her head. That is absolutely stunning, marvelous, stupendous, etc, etc. I can't imagine the joy yellows bring to the psyche of people living there, like you. I am drooling with envy. If only we can have it but it wont grow in the tropics. Thank you for the momentous feelings.
Amy Renea said…
for Cynthia - I LOVE IT~ :)

Court - I love love love when the old farmhouse is GONE, but the forsythias and iris and peonies are still blooming in a square around the foundation. That is so magical to me :)
Amy Renea said…
Susanne - Go grab a few branches off your neighbors! Now is a great time to start a few in the ground!

...and andrea - you crack me up! I agree that it is absolutely stunning and I drive that way sometimes JUST for the forsythia (and the roller coasters...they are so joyful too :)
Beautiful photography Amy! Love Forsythia...was just explaining to the girls how it only lasts a short time in Spring so to enjoy it's color!