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Name that shrub

Posted by laurell 8 - Washington (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 30, 09 at 19:29

There's this great shrub that I've seen everywhere lately and I have no clue wtf it is. It's a fairly large shrub (I've seen many sizes of it), does not have any foliage yet, but has tons of beautiful, vibrant, tiny yellow flowers. It's in bloom right now.

Thanks!

Laurel


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Name that shrub

Most likely forsythia.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by laurell 8 - Washington (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 30, 09 at 20:07

That looks like it! Is there anything to be wary of with forsythia in this climate? Is it invasive in any way?

Thanks.


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RE: Name that shrub

About the easiest shrub in the world to grow.....no problems whatsoever, other than being very appealing to deranged pruners who try to turn it into misshappen blobs or squares. A real harbinger of spring!


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RE: Name that shrub

It looks insipid 49 weeks out of the year.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 31, 09 at 1:29

Good backed by evergreens with bronze winter color like glossy abelia or plume cryptomeria, which form a contrasting backdrop at flowering time. The abelia also has a compatible arching habit and similar stature; in summer it flowers for months, so that with just the two kinds of shrubs alone the location can provide flower color for much of the year.

Forsythias give pleasant purple, bronze etc. and yellow fall color. And the promise of the early spring bloom is present all winter, in the readily discerned flowers buds.

Since the flower buds have a short dormancy some specimens also flowers a little in autumn some years, sometimes forming a contrast with their own purplish autumn leaves.

I have had one newly planted specimen of a less common variety go all goofy in the Camano Island garden. It looked as though sprayed with herbicide. It was suggested here that this would be likely to be a sucking pest that targets forsythias specifically.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by laurell 8 - Washington (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 31, 09 at 17:11

Swell. I guess I'll pick a few up this autumn or next year when I get started with my second "layer" of plantings.


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RE: Name that shrub

Forsythia may not be interesting out of bloom, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's plain, green leaves make a good backdrop for more interesting things. If everything in a garden is clamoring for attention year round, it would be rather unsettling.

There are forsythias with gold or variagated foliage. They just take some looking for.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 1, 09 at 16:43

Variegated forms not too hard to find at local independent garden centers. If reduced vigor is also desired there is a tendency for these to exhibit this as well. Smaller growth can be had from green-leaved types also. However, the short ones will not produce the graceful fountain shape of the older or otherwise more conventional introductions. A more vigorous, ample growth would also probably be markedly preferable where cutting for indoor arrangements is likely to occur.


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RE: Name that shrub

My Forsythia veridissima koreanna 'Suwon' makes a fountain. It just makes a smaller fountain. I've seen older fosythias taller than a ranch house. So smaller is probably better in urban and suburban gardens.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 1, 09 at 22:19

The most graceful is F. suspensa. This will actually drape down a wall, when planted at the top.


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RE: Name that shrub

That sounds like a charming way to hide an ugly wall.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 2, 09 at 22:20

I saw one 'suspensa' clamber up some Vine Maple off Hi-way 167, the Kent Auburn Hi-way, that went 20 ft. in the air!
The blossom color was not as bright as most other forms however.

The reason most Forsythias are hacked into weird shapes is that it's never given enough room to reach it's natural size. Amateurs cut it to fit so it won't be growing out over the lawn. Pros either move it, (first choice) or change the lawn line to accommodate it. Removing it is also an option. It ain't that great. I prefer to enjoy when it's blooming in someone else's garden. I don't have room for it.


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RE: Name that shrub

My old house came with some big ones. I cut them to the ground to bring them down to size. I'm letting them grow back because they screen the dining room windows from the neighbors' driveway. I'd hate to try to dig them out.


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RE: Name that shrub

A well-grown forsythia in full bloom is truly a thing of beauty :-) Unfortunately as Mike states, they are too often hacked back into unnatural forms for whatever reason. I was on Bainbridge a couple of days ago scouting out my upcoming move there and saw a number of them that have been allowed to grow freely and they were golden beacons in the gray, rainy landscape! They are a bit nondescript when out of bloom but then so are a great many other flowering shrubs.....like rhododendrons! The art is to select from a variety of these temporary bloomers so that the color moves through the season and when out of bloom, they can take a backseat and lend their green presence as a backdrop for something else.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 13:00

In the mixed border evergreen shrubs provide structure and deciduous shrubs provide a transition between the solidity of these and herbaceous plants. Deciduous shrubs can also be chosen to flower with herbaceous plants in season, for example daffodils blooming with forsythia behind. Large, spring-flowering deciduous shrubs like forsythias and lilacs can be used to support small climbers such as large-flowered clematis for summer color.

When plants are combined as in above examples then it is not necessary for individual kinds to carry the whole show. Thinking of all plants being considered for use in a garden as isolated elements, each of which must maintain a high degree of interest at all times can make the selection pretty limited - and preclude the use and enjoyment of numerous unique attributes such as the profuse early yellow flowering of forsythias, the flower color range, spike-shaped clusters and special fragrance of lilacs or the summer whiteness and aroma of mockoranges (Philadelphus).


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RE: Name that shrub

They are a bit nondescript when out of bloom but then so are a great many other flowering shrubs.....like rhododendrons!

You haven't seen my new R. X 'Ebony Pearl'with almost black, wavy leaves. I don't care if ever blooms, and the golden fuzz on my R. edgeworthii is pretty darn cool even out of fabulously fragrant bloom. Don't diss the rhodies.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 22:02

Protect that last one against 15-20F and foliage mildew. The first one looks like it might be a Sec. Pontica derivative and therefore perhaps resistant (although 'Purple Splendour' mildews and dies). I've seen it at outlets but do not know its background.


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RE: Name that shrub

There are R. edgeworthii hardy in the ground to 5 F. There's a big one in the ground behind the gift shop at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. It's sheltered under big trees, which helps.


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RE: Name that shrub

'Ebony pearl' is a sport of 'Pink Pearl'.


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RE: Name that shrub

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 4, 09 at 1:15

So if you've got a propagation of one like that, then it will live as long as it doesn't get below 5F. If you have a different form, it may only be hardy to 15F.

I grew a Rhododendron crassum in the ground here for years, that had been grown outdoors in the region for many years before that. One year it finally got too cold (it only takes a few hours below a plant's minimum temperature) and it scorched like someone had gone over it with a flame. Since it had been producing these dumb-looking flowers (I bought it without having seen them first) with short cowbell corollas instead of the stereotypic wonderful long Maddenia trumpets I dug it out and trashed it.

I think we've probably gotten below 5F here at least a couple of times, and we're surely not even 1/4 mile from Puget Sound. During 1990 2F was claimed by a gardener living near Northgate.

'Pink Pearl' doesn't seem to have a serious mildew problem. Can't say the same for 'Cynthia' or 'Anna Rose Whitney'!


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RE: Name that shrub

Oh, I have quite a few rhodies as well, 'Ebony Pearl' being one of them :-) Most of mine are species or collector plants rather than the more common (and popular) hybrids. However, the vast unwashed masses seem to prefer the much more generic forms of these hybrid rhododendrons with enormous, garish flower trusses one finds at most nurseries and box stores rather than those that have something to say for themselves over and above their limited bloom season.

Rhododendrons certainly have their place.......I just wish more were chosen with some thought as to the impact - or lack thereof - they provide in the garden.


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RE: Name that shrub

At the rhody garden they identify which clone and it's hardiness on the tag.

I remember the year it got down to 5. My son was in kindergarten and going to school wearing both his winter coats. Haller Lake is just north of Northgate, and we do seem to have a cold microclimate here.


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RE: Name that shrub

What if you hack it back to ground level, then how does it look? Let's find out. Wheres my chainsaw??

Good luck on your move to Bainbridge. I lived there once. The west side of the island is a lot colder at all times of the year.


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RE: Name that shrub

I hacked my big old forsythias to the ground, and they are came back as 5' fountains the first year (they were 10' or 12' before). They did not bloom this year, but I expect they will next year.


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