It's Forsythia. Fortunate to have a vigorous Forsythia in my yard, I have come to appreciate it for the striking landscape accent it provides.

An April drive around the countryside is an enjoyable trip when forsythia is found in full bloom. Even non-gardeners cannot help but to notice the colors that suddenly seem to give a collective "pop" to the landscape at this time of year. I know, because I was once a non-gardener myself. While there are spring shrubs that sing, "Pink," or "Red," or "White," forsythia shouts "Yellow!" and everyone notices.

My forsythia hedge started in the 1990s as a few softwood cuttings from a neighbor. I soaked the cut ends of these branches in a bucket of water for a few days and then dug three holes about six feet apart along the northern border of my yard close to the road. The cuttings "took", delighting me (and anyone driving by) with a splash of yellow each spring.

Over the years, the three plantings grew together just by increasing in fullness and height. Now they have taken on the appearance of one large, long bush.

This large shrub is very strong, very vigorous, and needs cutting back after the blooms are spent. I leave the bulk of this chore to my husband now that the shrub is very tall and wide.

Since I am fortunate enough to have a huge forsythia, there is no end to the experimentation with this shrub that is at my disposal. A few years ago, I pruned some leafy springtime branches off (after flowering was done) and placed them in my vegetable garden for one year.

The next spring, the little cut branches truly surprised me since I had forgotten all about the experiment; I guess I deemed it a failure since there was nothing but seemingly lifeless little sticks poking up along the edge of the cold garden. But no! Little yellow flowers had sprouted all over the "dead" sticks!

That new little forsythia bush soon found a permanent home as a yellow accent plant against the evergreen border on the south side of the yard. It is a mature plant now, needing the same attention as its "mommy" bush on the other side of the yard.


I suppose if one wants to, he or she can decorate the entire property with yellow using just one parent planting of forsythia. There are many yards like that in my neighborhood.

I have learned to be careful and to keep my enthusiasm in check now that I know how large forsythia gets. At the risk of expressing negativity about this lovely specimen, I must point out that it grows very well; in fact, if left to its own devices, forysthia can become a monstrous problem.

A homeowner would do well to inspect all shrubs at least twice a year to determine what type of pruning is needed. Forsythia is a shrub that needs frequent inspection and pruning in order to remain under the control of the homeowner and not vice-versa. (You don't want a shrub to control you, but it can happen.) Of course, with pruning, a true gardener at heart will most likely eye the pruned branches with relish while thinking about the joys of making new forsythias from an old forsythia.

For those who enjoy propagating shrubs, forsythia is probably the easiest. Last summer, I found an idea online that simply said to cut a few forsythia branches and place them into half-gallon juice jugs full of soil to get the cuttings to root. So I tried it, and lo and behold, my little jug sticks are budding this spring!

Now that my husband I have learned how to both control and propagate our forsythia, our only problem today is deciding what to do with the fresh shrubs that we produce. Plant them? Give them away? Sell them?

I like all of these choices. Forsythia, anyone?