19 March 2010

furtive forsythia

When we moved into this house, almost exactly three years ago, I did a complete walk-around outside to identify all the plants. I had to see what I was working with, right? I must have found more than 100 different types of plants, but none troubled me as much as this forsythia.

Even if you're not familiar with the name forsythia, you've probably seen the plant. Forsythia is a bush with long, arching branches filled with small, bright yellow flowers that bloom at the very end of winter. A blooming forsythia, for me, is the definitive signal that spring is upon us. (Here's a photo of someone else's gorgeous forsythia.)

At the time we moved in, it should have been covered with yellow flowers. But it wasn't. It had plenty of bright green leaves, but no flowers. It had been planted right against a fence, in a space also occupied by a strong-willed grape vine. The grape vine had curled all around the forsythia branches. "The poor thing is choking!" I said, in about as much panic as if an actual person had been choking.

That fall, we transplanted the forsythia. We brought it out three feet from the grape vine, in a nice little spot just next to the garden. With all that breathing room, I thought for sure I would have a beautiful flowering forsythia come March.

No dice. Again, lots of leaves, but no blooms. I did as much research as humanly possible, and found that severe to-the-ground pruning of the oldest limbs was my last resort. I did so, and turned my lush forsythia bush into a spindly little tree.

But apparently it worked. It's late, because all the other forsythia on the block are already in bloom, but my sneaky little plant has rewarded my hard work with a few decidedly yellow buds. My  heart skipped a beat when I first saw them. There is no one in the world even half as excited as I am to see these buds, but I don't care. I feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway saying, "Look what I have created!"

Ah, but I'm a little bit kooky that way. :) If you're still reading this, even through all that craziness, I hope you have a very wonderful weekend, and I'll see you again Monday.