Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time to Go

Robin on armillary obelisk captured through the winter glass on the front door.
How and when do we decide it is time to remove a plant or to make big changes in the layout of our gardens?

I have had a forsythia bush in my garden.  Nothing says spring so much to me as forsythia blooming. My particular cultivar was given to me by my mother in 2002, before I became so much more knowledgeable of forsythia in general.  Whichever cultivar it was, unknown, as my mother is not particularly adept at those types of distinction.  It did not bloom until its third year.  It has not bloomed in the last three.  There was a year here and there it did not bloom for one reason or another, bringing the total percentage of times it has bloomed to about fifty percent.

The rest of the time it is just a LARGE green bush. In a small garden.

Here you can see how I have trimmed it up to allow more light to reach the other perennials in the Long Border.

This photo gives you an idea of its dimensions in the Long Border.
Yes, it does do a nice job hiding the neighbor's house from view.  Yes, it is beautifully shaped, but that has more to do with Ms. "Edward-Scissors-Hands" Talking-to-Plants (because no one else is listening) Gardener than anything else. The thing is, there is a beautiful Mohican viburnum right next to it that never fails to bloom and has been growing fairly slowly as it competes for resources with NoName forsythia.  The William Baffin rose might do better with just a tad more air circulation and light, too (notice it growing in a wimpy way on the trellis to the right?).

So last night, after work, I pulled out my brand new pruner and my garden stool and had at it.  I took down all the shoots I could with hand pruners and had saw.  Today, I will pull out the shovel (and my stool, although I did dig up a whole huge aged clump of coneflowers and transplant them while standing (personal milestone in my recovery)--Yay!-- but this is a much bigger, deeper, labor intensive sort of digging project) and dig out the root ball.

I know it did not bloom, although it formed buds.  My first thought when someone says something did not bloom for them is pruning it at the wrong time of year.

My second thought, recently, is climate change is having its way in our gardens. Given the timing of the bloom, that there are several cultivars a bit more susceptible to a hard frost squelching any bloom, and a mental check each year of temperatures the ten days prior to the anticipated bloom (and that the years it did bloom it was easily 2-3 days ahead of the others in town, most of which I know the cultivar names); my money is on freezing.

So which cultivars should you plant?  If it does not have the word "Northern" in its name, walk away.

In the garden change is inevitable.  For this forsythia, it was time to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment