Urban Gardener: Forsythias Advance on Spring
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Forsythias Proclaim Early Spring
Urban gardeners are lucky in our region. Year after year forsythias were planted by gardeners and often out lived their planters. Far beyond generations of love sturdy forsythia bushes have colonized vacant lots and often define these places as once having been home. Our purposes are simple and have benefits for this vigorous shrub and gardeners too.
The forsythia proclaims early spring like few other shrubs. This early import to the USA from Japan in the 19th century was an instant gardening sensation of its day. Quick to adapt to our climate, its requirements are modest indeed. They are not fussy about soil as long as it’s well drained. Forsythia likes sunshine and will scrounge a living from soils any other plant would abandon. Don’t be altogether deceived friends. I’ve fertilized forsythia and pampered it with compost, manure and thick mulches. It loves these nostrums. However, don’t wait until you have perfect soil before planting. Rather, let’s begin while it’s still winter and advance on spring. Here’s a garden project good for the family or those who just must have blooms in the home. Nothing uplifts the spirit more than the golden yellow forsythia bloom.
This shrub will settle in between cracked pavements, granite curbs, and survive fires, hurricanes and floods. It will form dense mounds of long stemmed shoots and blooms appear on last year’s new growth. Plants of this habit are a boon to urban gardeners. We often are challenged to revive soils disturbed for centuries by waves of industrialization and generations of construction. As we reclaim our urban spaces with greenery it’s common and practical to avail ourselves of the tried and true. Stick with this horticultural winner and have some fun.
Pruning and Care
Groomed forsythia is very productive. Gardeners of every age can soon learn to recognize the distinctive shape of the mature forsythia, rarely more than ten feet tall and often easily that wide around. The thicket like growth offers homes to sparrows and other birds. Its dense growth offers protection to soil from direct sunlight. It’s deciduous habit of shedding leaves each fall creates perpetual mulch and is an excellent demonstration of the purposes of mulches in a natural setting. This hint can be improved upon to good results. Every garden needs a place to rake the extra leaves, the spare cuttings and culled plants. Forsythias offer a natural carpet to sweep all under and out of sight. Save your back a little and keep this sort of refuge from labor and care in parts of the garden.
Bring the fresh cut stems and put into a water filled container. It’s best to use a dark heavy duty vase or bucket that keeps the bottom third of the stems in water and away from sunlight. Place in a sunny window. Give the stems a chance; change the water if it becomes foul or smelly. Youngsters are good at detecting yuck and a fresh change of water is quick and easy. Within a week or so, the stems will burst into bloom. Golden yellow flowers will cover the stems in glory. Defy the remnants of snow and mush with this golden tribute.
Soon after the flowers have matured, bright green leaves will follow. Keep up with the water and rotate the container a quarter turn whenever replenishing the water. These are thirsty plants. The nodules you can see on the stems are roots in waiting. As the stems flower they are also developing roots. Coax along the stems into greenery. You’ll soon have many new forsythia plants to share with family and friends. Plant them in a permanent place where they will return love and care for many years. The cuttings serve many purposes.
The flowers are lovely, the new plants extend the range of forsythias around the city and the mother plant rebounds with vigorous new growth. This winning combination is within the grasp of all aspiring gardeners and brings a smile to veterans. Advance on spring and force start some forsythia today.
Related Slideshow: 10 Great MA Houses That Just Came on the Market—February 20, 2014
16 Old Dam Rd.
3 beds, 1 bath
Set on .62 acres is this lovely Colonial with over 2,800 sq ft and built for versatile living. Close to Gray Gables, Monument Beach, and the causeway to Mashnee, along with the Cape Cod Canal, this home is set on one of the prettiest roads in Bourne. Originally built in 1997 and added onto in 2002, this house features a large 2-car garage, central AC, natural gas heat, gas fireplace, formal dining room, huge playroom or office with half bath, irrigations system, deck, and lots of closets. It has also just been updated with new paint and carpets.
173 South River St.
4 beds, 2 baths
This home is a beautifully updated Cape with a professionally landscaped exterior that creates a tranquil setting with walking paths, waterfalls, and luscious gardens. The kitchen is perfect for the family chef with top end appliances, granite counter tops, and Merrilate cabinetry. Other features include all new plumbing, fifty-year roof, 200 amp service, Jacuzzi bath, 4-head shower, and much more.
88 Ball St.
4 beds, 2 baths
Take a look at this beautiful Kendall home, offering a spectacular setting of just under 2 acres. See the refined two story foyer, beautiful trim finish and mellow hardwood floors before walking into the gourmet cook's kitchen complete with custom cabinets, island and granite. With 9-foot ceilings, this home is "Energy Star Efficient" and also includes a fireside family room, private home office, and luxurious master suite with walk-in closets and a sumptuous master bath.
1 Eastern Point
2 beds, 1 bath
This magnificent end unit waterfront condo is perfect for enjoying tranquil views from the living room and glassed 3-season atrium, as well as the deck off master bedroom. All freshly painted, this home boasts a fully applianced Cherry kitchen with breakfast nook, brick patio, hardwood and tile flooring, and versatile 4-level open floor plan that's great for entertaining. Or if you're looking for some privacy, the finished lower level is complete with a second kitchen, a half bath, a unique Fieldstone fireplace, and a walkout to the patio.
51 Pond Street
4 beds, 4 baths
We can all dream a little, right? Check out this beautiful waterfront property with 10+ private level acres, not to mention with access to Chebacco Lake. The unique contemporary home offers that beachfront lifestyle with views galore. The first level offers a living room and dining room combo complete with fireplace, and a new, open kitchen and family room. There are 2 bedroom suites and a half bath. The second level offers a private master suite while the lower level includes a potential in-law suite and access to the garage. There is also a permit for a walkway to the lake, and septic design for potential second lot.
163 Fuller Road
4 beds, 3 baths
This wonderfully spacious Cape offers 4 good sized bedrooms and 3.5 baths set on over an acre lot in Centerville. The home offers over 3,900 square feet of living space and has a formal dining room, formal living room, and family rooms. Adjacent to the kitchen is the fireplaced family room overlooking the back yard. There are hardwood floors under the carpet in the living, dining, and family rooms, along with a 3-car garage outside.
6 Mossy Bottom Ln
3 beds, 4 baths
This home is a Contemporary 3 bedroom, 4 1/2 bath with a 4-car garage. Located in the beautiful Ridge Club Country Club and golf community, the home includes a first floor master bedroom suite, 28-foot great room, 2 gas fireplaces, second floor entertainment and an additional 1,000 sq ft finished lower level with full bath and separate entrance.
4 Sweet Fern Ln
3 beds, 3 baths
This is a bayside built Pinehurst 3+ bedroom with 3 full baths and 2 half baths, spacious first floor master bedroom suite, wood fireplace in a cathedral family room, formal dining and living rooms, large second floor bedrooms, plus a den with closet, private office or rec room with separate stairs above the garage, a farmers porch, and more.
5 Billerica Ave
3 beds, 2 baths
This Colonial style home has hardwood throughout the first floor, a large eat-in kitchen with stainless appliances, granite countertops and breakfast bar, spacious family room with vaulted ceilings, recessed lighting and gas fireplace, an archway with greek columns, living room and dining room with tray ceilings, laundry on the first floor, 3 bedrooms including the master bedroom with tray ceiling, a master bath and walk-in closet, walk-up attic and walk-out finished basement with slider to the back yard, and a 2-car attached garage...all in a convenient location close to the major routes and the North Billerica T Station.
138 South Street
6 beds, 3 baths
For those with expensive taste, this gorgeous family home is for you. A family home for more than 100 years, Pineledge, built by renowned architect Robert Coit, retains original detailing- carved wood paneling and murals. The home also offers a large covered porch and 2 decks. The patio off the dining room is an entry to the dreamy, park-like garden rooms, with the former chauffeur quarters possibly serving as a guest suite. The property totals 11.48 acres.
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