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'Stunning shrubs for easy beauty' with Forsythia

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by Colour Your Life • Friday February 26, 2016

So what’s the difference between ‘common’ and ‘popular’? Both are terms used to describe the wonderful Forsythia plant. The two terms are often confused but can actually effect the meaning behind a statement, for example ‘popular’ should be used to describe something or someone that a lot of people like, but “common” is used to describe something that occurs often. When something is common, it is not always apparent whether people like it or not. 

The problem with Forsythia is that it is so ‘common’ that it may be seen as commonplace. Now, in my opinion this is a great shame; next time you are passing a Forsythia plant, take a good long look at it and maybe you’ll fall for the plant just for its distinctive look – or if your plant appreciation runs a little deeper than just looks, then read on to hear me sing the praises of this supremely attractive plant.

Traditionally considered a herald of spring, Forsythia is said to be a symbol of Good Nature, Innocence, and Anticipation. Korean legend states that this flower depicts the rejuvenation of love. If you don’t put any stock in symbols and legends then on a more earthly note, who can fail to be cheered by the sight of a mass of yellow blooms dripping from elegant dark arching branches? If the sky is dull, the blaze of yellow brightens the most miserable day.

Forsythia was introduced to our western shores in the 19th century from Japan by William Forsyth, a Scottish botanist and a founding member of the RHS; but not his only claim to fame - Bruce Forsyth traced his family tree back on a recent television program and found he was related to William!

The shrub is also native to China and Korea. However, this shrub really took off in popularity when Robert Fortune introduced the Chinese species Forsythia fortune in 1833. In our gardens we mainly grow the plant for its flowers but it has been an essential ingredient in Chinese medicine for centuries. The Chinese used the fruit of the Forsythia for all sorts of remedies but mainly those for all kinds of ‘overheating’ for example: inflammation and swelling, fever, flu, swollen glands, boils, carbuncles and mastitis.

The Forsythia plant is a great choice for those of you that have a container garden. They need little care and are hardy in extreme (British) temperatures. They will faithfully supply your garden with bright golden, bell shaped flowers on bare branches in the spring and when the flowers fade, gorgeous green foliage appears and lasts throughout summer and autumn. In winter, the bare branches make a striking garden feature.
Forsythia plants are fabulous when left to their own devices to grow wild and free. They can be used successfully as a backdrop but equally are at home when trained onto a trellis. The shrub is particularly useful when grown on slopes as it can help prevent erosion. Other uses include screening, shading or wind breaks.


Seasonal highlights March
For inspiring displays of spring borders and flowering bulbs, make sure you visit some of your local gardens open to the public. Wonderful spring bulbs, perennials and shrubs are all waiting to be enjoyed right now! The momentum of spring is really starting to build now throughout the plant kingdom, in our gardens, parks and countryside. What about buying a new patio pot and plant to mark the new season?

As temperatures rise and there's more daylight again, outdoor wear is becoming more optional than essential and, just like us, nature is raring to go. Mammals and birds love the spring. Have you ever seen a herd of dairy cows when they first feel the grass under their feet after a long winter indoors? Keep on feeding the birds - they will be on the look out for any extra food they can get as they gather their strength for nesting.  


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