Two weeks of nice, fifty weeks of terror

Forsythia has Sprung!

Forsythia has Sprung!, originally uploaded by seeks2dream.

The forsythia in my yard have begun to bloom. They have pretty yellow blossoms that last for a long time, and they act as a clear signal that Spring is really here.

It’s good that they look pretty for a couple of weeks, because for the rest of the year they make my life hell. They are among the fastest growing shrubs around. The trick is to cut them all the way down to the ground, maybe four inches from the ground, shortly after their blooms have faded. They will then look horrible for a couple of weeks, but they grow like weeds and sprout green leaves all over. They look bushy and fetching then.

A couple of years I’ve managed this. Last year I did not get the branches cut back, so they just grew and grew and grew. The plants now sport branches that are 12 or so feet tall, all pointed in random directions. They line both sides of my narrow driveway, so pulling into the garage is like driving into the vine-covered Batcave. (The garage door opener increases the illusion, except that it’s ancient and makes a terrible and un-superhero-like racket.)

Cutting the branches in time wouldn’t be too big of a deal, but getting rid of the debris is very difficult. The branches are long and pointy, and they laugh when I try to put them in trashbags. Plus there are so many!

I found a flier on my porch the other day from someone who tends lawns and trims hedges. The flier was delightfully simple and low-tech, and it arrived just as I was starting to wonder how I’m going to manage the shrubberies this year. So I called and make an appointment for tomorrow for an estimate.

Imagine: I could have a nicely mown lawn and neatly trimmed plants around my house this summer. That’s a tremendously cheering thought. It makes the arrival of Spring even sweeter.

3 replies on “Two weeks of nice, fifty weeks of terror”

  1. I know it’s kinda dumb and it’s not even spelled right but we had forsythia at my last house and I couldn’t help but always think it was really “For Cynthia”. Whenever they bloomed it was for me.

    Enjoy your two weeks for you.

  2. I recall a first lady having all the forsythias at the white house yanked one year shortly after they all went into bloom because she hated yellow. I’ve given it a quick google and all I can find is that Lady Bird Johnson had them, as well as tulips and a number of other perennials, installed shortly after JFK’s death, but I’m thinking this was another series of bushes installed earlier.

    My parents had a forsythia. It was the same height height as me pretty much all my life.

  3. Cindy: You’ve given me a new way to look at forsythia. Thank you! I will resent them a little less from now on. :)

    Steve: I’m telling you that these things are weeds. I’ll take a photo of mine so you can see how huge they grow. Maybe your parents trim theirs and you didn’t know.

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