Forsythia X intermedia ‘Spectabilis’

I confess that I grow this tall shrub chiefly for its cutting value, for it is ungainly in shape and uninteresting after flowering. But it is so satisfying cutting long stems in tight bud six or seven weeks before flowering, when the weather is drear, and watching the bright yellow flowers come out slowly in a warm room, that I am glad to have a big specimen with whole branches to spare. ‘Lynwood’ is a variety with particularly large flowers.

Forsythia is hardy and deciduous, the flowers coming out on pale brown, brittle branches before the oval leaves. It is a fast grower in any soil, and needs little attention. If you have cut it heavily for the house, it will not need pruning; otherwise shorten the old stems immediately after flowering, and cut one or two branches to the ground to encourage fresh growth. I think forsythia looks better on a shrubby bank than against the house – it is particularly unfortunate against red brick. But among dark-leaved ever- greens. Like Elaeagnus x ebbingei, it can make a fine sunny splash in spring.

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