Yellow Forsythia – Cheerful Harbinger of Spring

Yellow is classed as one of the ‘warm’ colours, it is the colour of happiness, cheerfulness and friendliness, and has been universally accepted as the colour of caring. In colour psychology yellow radiates hope and optimism. I think this explains why spring flowers are primarily yellow, dominated by the daffodil and the original primrose. The bush that brightens the scene in spring in many a suburban garden is also yellow; the forsythia,  since the leaves only grow after the flowers the display in Spring is a spectacular all yellow  bush. From the depths of winter these yellow colours  inspire us with thoughts of sunshine that we eagerly anticipate.


Botanical  Name: Forsythia. Common Name: Golden Bells

Although there are some rambling species most varieties are vigorous bushes with strong branches. They all bear four petaled yellow star shaped flowers but if you want to grow the most floriferous varieties, plant forsythia x intermedia Spectabilis, or Forsythia Northern Gold. The forsythia needs space to be appreciated , hack it back hard and its flowers will be few and far between, allow it to grow and you will be rewarded with a golden bush right through the months of March and April. You do not need to allow it to grow to its ultimate height of 2.5m but it should only be lightly pruned after flowering at the beginning of summer, prune it at the end of Summer and you will  be cutting away all your flower shoots.

Other then pruning advise there is very little more to say, -it will grow in sun or semi shade, it will grow in any type of soil, and is not at all affected by insects or fungal diseases.

They do have one friendly enemy and that is the birds. At this time of the year their food supplies have been depleted and the plump buds of the forsythia make a fine meal. Personally  I have never found it to be a problem on my bushes either because there are so many flower buds or because my bird feeding stations are always well stocked and the birds  leave the bushes alone,  but some avid gardeners tie cotton string between the twigs to keep them away.

Cut a few twigs before the flowers have fully opened and place them in a vase indoors, you can choose the height of the twigs depending on the height of your vase. If you have chosen tall branches and the lower sections are looking bare, add a few yellow daffodils, and together the vase will bring you cheerfulness , happiness and everything else that the colour yellow stands for!

Good gardening ,

Boris Legarni .