PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Korean Forsythia (Forsythia koreana ‘Kumsum’)

We like colorful seasonal benchmarks as delightful reminders of our ever-changing yet predictably cyclical living world. Around late February we start seeing brilliant sprays of sunshiney-yellow blooms arching up over fences or in great fountain-shaped mounds in a corner of a yard. Cue the Forsythia! The rest of the year you’ll hardly notice it, but in late winter, wowee kazowee!

Forsythia originates from areas around Korea, Japan, and China. Forsythia has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine and became popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries. Western folklore says when Forsythia blooms, expect three more snows before winter ends. Forsythia blooms when spring is near but winter ain’t quite done with us yet. It’s a teaser. The Victorian era’s fixation on all things botanical included assigning layers of meaning to many plants. Forsythia was considered the Flower of Anticipation and bouquets of it and other flowers were given as a kind of code language.

Standard Forsythia is a large and somewhat unruly multi-stemmed shrub. Our favorite is Korean Forsythia which politely remains around 4 feet tall and has distinctive, beautiful, emerald leaves with striking gold veining. In autumn the foliage turns to rich burgundy before falling. It grows happily in full sun to part shade and doesn’t need much water. It makes a great cut flower.

Find our lovely variety, Tues-Sun, 10-5