Our Forlorn Forsythia and the Subtle Spicebush
We used to have a whole hedge of Forsythia along the east side of the house. All had to be dug up a few years ago when we waterproofed the basement. I was not devastated to see them go, as their departure meant it was time for: Border Makeover! Which means the purchase of all sorts of new plants. But that is a topic for another day.
There is one Forsythia that remains. It is in the back garden, and it seems depressed. I don’t have a picture of the whole thing, but from this photo you should be able to see that it is blooming sparsely.
Across the street one of the neighbors has a fine example of what a happy Forsythia should look like.
We need our Forsythia to perk up. After it’s done flowering (the proper time to prune Forsythia), I was thinking I would cut out the older stems. Also treat it to some composted manure, maybe some fertilizer. I could also try nagging, constantly asking our Forsythia why it can’t be more like the Forsythia across the street.
Do any of you have suggestions for reviving a sad Forsythia?
Very near our Forsythia we have several Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) that seem reasonably content. Spicebush is a native shrub that also has yellow flowers in early spring.
While Forsythia (when happy) is like a marching band, Spicebush is more of a string quartet. Its flowers are fuzzy and small, and a softer shade of yellow.
Spicebush does offer more multi-season interest than Forsythia, in my opinion. The larger oblong leaves are attractive and have a citrus scent if crushed. They provide food for the Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar, though I personally haven’t seen any.
Spicebush has red fruits (loved by birds) in late summer and decent fall color.
But back to the sad Forsythia. Can anyone offer some advice?