When the garden hybrid, the Forsythia was first discovered, there were two major species, the Forsythia Vridissima and the Forsythia Suspensa. Robert Fortune, a Scottish plant-hunter, discovered the Forsythia Vridissma, in a garden of Chusan, before he ever even saw it growing wild in the mountains of Zhejiang. When brought in from the Far East they landed in Western gardens, and played an important part of gardens as a shrub. A Westerner, first noticed the Forsythia Suspensa. When Carl Peter Thunberg, a botanist-surgeon, saw the Forsythia in a Japanese garden, he classed it as a lilac, this was in 1794. The Forsythia was brought into Holland by 1833. This lovely plant could be found at a nursery in England at Veitch Nurseries, and was still considered a rare species. These plants were first grown mostly hanging over retaining walls. In 1861, there was an erect form of Forsythia discovered in Peking, they called this species: Forsythia Fortunei. European gardens had been proudly overtaken by the Forsythia Vridissma. The Forsythia x Intermedia, is a hybrid of the Forsythia Suspensa and Virdissima, it was brought into Europe in 1880. Budding of the Vridissma and the Suspensa, gave birth to the Intermedia. Further species were discovered during the time of World War I, in China. Forsythia Giraldian was discovered in 1910 in Gansu, and Forsythia Ovata was discovered by seed in Korea, by E.H.”Chinese” Wilson. Both of these species have been very helpful as parents for the American Species of modern times. The Forysthia Variabilis was produced by combining the Forysthia Ovata and Forysthia Suspensa. In Chinese herbology, the Forsythia Suspensa, is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs. There is a Korean string instrument called Ajaeng, that contains Forsythia branches, that are used as a bow for this instrument. The Forsythia Shrubs are a popular spring flowering shrub, often times seen in parks and gardens. The most common spring blooming shrubs are the Intermedia and the Suspensa, these both are full of beautiful yellow flowers. These are both known for their durabilty. The Intermedia is grown for the upright growing pattern and the very deep colored flowers, while the Suspensa is a larger shrub, that is usually more commonly grown for growing an banks or over fences, because its more of a weeping shrub, it also has a paler yellow flower. Often times, the Forsythia is forced in the early spring to flower. Usually, professional growers use woody cuttings for propagation. Cuttings are normally taken late spring through early summer, although, sometimes the cuttings can be taken between November and February. Often times, gardeners do a common and easy trick, by placing a brick on a low hanging branch on the ground, then it roots, then you cut it from the parent plant, and dig it up, now you have another plant. The Forsythia really brightens up the spring landscape, with its bright yellow “Golden Bells”, which is a common name given to this outstanding garden shrub. The Forsythia was said to cure a disease that caused death, in the movie ‘Contagion’. The Forsythia was also a part of the love story, by Alice Munro, ‘The Love of a Good Woman”. The Forsythia Shrubs are a very deciduous shrub hardy to zone 5. As noted earlier, the Forsythia blooms in early spring, and they have flowers, before they have leaves. The Forsythia Intermedia, is commonly referred to as ‘Sunrise’, because of its arching branches, its spread out like a big sun. Surprisingly, this variety is more compact than some others, it grows about 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. If the Forsythia is not properly pruned, it starts to get out of control, and wild looking. You can shape your Forsythia, if you so choose, by frequent pruning. These plants grow best in a well drained soil and full sun. If you would like to create a beautiful property boundary, you can plant the Border Forsythia, its serves as a beautiful property separation, and its a good hedge for privacy, they are often referred to as a “living wall”. The Forsythia can also be used to help control erosion around your home and on slopes in your yard. The Forsythia is a delight to every garden.
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