Time to put the top down in the “interchange yellow” mini cooper and let the cool spring breeze blow through my hair, Princess Grace-like, that is, with a scarf and sunglasses. It was a fun way to celebrate the warm weather with yesterday being my first top-down day of 2010.
I’ve never had a convertible before, so pardon my enthusiasm – it’s our first spring together. It’s quite the glamorous vision until you realize there’s a toddler car seat in the back, totally ruining the “I’m so cool” look?
Ha-ha…I crack myself up – a glam-mom, that’s me!
It’s also time for all yellow flowers to burst open and brighten your day with their happy spring-time tones.
After that horrendous snow fall and all the damage that was done, it’s good to see the garden is aglow with interesting selections of forsythia like ‘Golden Peep’ and ‘Lynwood Gold’. I like both of these selections because they are not your grandmother’s forsythia. Golden Peep ‘Coutdijau’ grows to only 2 1/2 feet tall and ‘Lynwood Gold’ has sturdy blooms that are truly golden in color.
One of my other favorites is Gold Tide ‘Courtasol’. Gold tide and Golden Peep were introduced in the US by The Conard-Pyle Co. They were bred in France. Gold Tide is a very useful ground cover selection that looks just as gorgeous in the summer without blooms as it does in March, blanketed in golden yellow blooms.
Why do people hate forsythia?
Perhaps it’s because it is so common. Perhaps it’s because they are quite possibly one of the most tortured ornamental plants in America’s gardens. When I studied landscape design in college, we would rather have died than spec something as common as forsythia in a design.
It was taboo… and we thought we were way too cool.
Imagine life without them?
Box stores and garden centers still sell them, but it’s such an impulse item. Once they stop blooming, you can hardly give them away. Designers and architects have stopped specifying them in their plans. I bet it’s been 20 years since they were planted heavily, yet you still see them dotted from garden to garden, mostly in older neighborhoods and in many older urban plantings.
I’ve come to love and appreciate them for what they are – a concept that seems foreign to many these days. I imagine modern, minimalist landscapes using seasonal drifts of magical color. One of the plants I would use is plain old fosythia. I might use one of the fancy new selections that doesn’t grow like a weed, but I’d use them for all of their golden yellow glory.
Their foliage is a lovely shade of grass green all summer followed by a surprisingly lovely shade of deep maroon in the fall. They sit in the back of the garden, providing the perfect backdrop for other plants. They are the most unpretentious garden guests. Forsythia are commonly disease free, terribly drought tolerant, and they bloom reliably year-after-year.
The only way to hurt them is to prune in the fall – and that doesn’t hurt, but there will be no blooms in spring.
So tell your neighbors, spread the word…
If yours is too big, chop it off in the spring! Don’t wait till fall or you’ll get nothing at all – blooms, that is.
There’s nothing more pathetic than a hacked-up forsythia with only a handful of blooms in the spring. Sort of defeats the whole purpose, don’t you think?
Po-tay-to, po-ta-to, to-may-to, to-ma-to…
Named after William Forsyth (1737–1804), a Scottish Botanist, who was a royal head gardener and founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. This genus of flowering plants, forsythia, is named in his honor.
So what is the correct pronunciation? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
You’d think the pronunciation of the founder’s last name would make it certain, but the jury’s out on this one for sure – even in my circle of plant geek botanic garden friends.
So plant some forsythia, no matter how you say it, and spread the joy of spring. We need those yellow blooms to bring us out of our winter doom. Future generations will thank you.
Back to the garden…
Blooming in tandem with the forsythia is my beloved winter hazel (Corylopsis spicata), with its tough, yet delicate looking butter yellow, bell shaped blooms.
The winter hazel is followed by the awesome flower power of my Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens ‘Margarita’). This uncommon, yet hardy, evergreen vine has tubular, golden yellow blooms and deep green, leathery foliage. It’s a totally cool plant that loves to twine and it blooms before any hardy vine I know.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the daffodils… a true harbinger that warmer weather is within reach.
Spring has definitely sprung, here in Baltimore. I’m hoping it’s not too far away for you and your gardens.
Now down to business, but first, a little ditty to brighten your day.
Although I have no yellow, spring flowering plants in my line-up yet (there’s one coming real soon…stay tuned!), here’s a yellow, summer-flowering selection I’m really excited to share. I am proud to be representing North Creek Nurseries for their introduction of a fantabulous new false sunflower (Helianthus x multiflorus) called ‘Sunshine Daydream’. This new selection has many, completely double yellow blooms and deep green foliage on a tall, sturdy plant.
Here’s to a very prosperous spring!
Until next week…
Angela Treadwell Palmer
President, Plants Nouveau