The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

On the care and pruning of forsythia

Erik looks forward to the exciting emergence of spring colours

Spring is, to me, so exciting a time of the year.

As the outside temperature is getting above freezing, one can walk outside without the heavy overcoat.

The garden starts to wake up from many months of nothing. The peonies will soon send up green shoots, and by that indicating it will soon be time to install the stakes and string for support.

One of my favourite spring colours is the forsythia bush. The forsythia is a deciduous shrub typically growing to a height of one to three metres, with its warm yellow colour telling spring has finally sprung.

When the time comes when the forsythia has started to drop its flowers, it is time to prune. When looking inside the shrub, you will notice some thicker branches, cut out one-third off the oldest next to the ground( the ones with the most wrinkles). The reason for this is to encourage new growth.

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Next, cut off the top to the height you’d like the shrub to be next year.

Finally, shorten all overhanging branches. It is essential not to delay this job because the shrub sets the buds for next year’s flowers right after bloom.

This shrub can very easily be planted to form a hedge. Plant the forsythia four feet apart. By doing this, both you and the neighbour can enjoy the spring colours.

The pruning of the forsythia can be an example of how nearly all spring-flowering bushes should be treated.

Over the years, I have been called out to prune spring-flowering bushes that had not been looked after. If you have a tree or shrub, that has been neglected for a time, it is never too late if it still is alive.

MORE GARDENER’S CORNER: Signs of spring bring thoughts of dahlias

The rule is the same, only take out one-third of the old wood; otherwise, you will be in trouble. It was so mild today that I walked around my vegetable garden.

The rhubarb has started sending up leaves which reminded me to move some of the old roots to the new location I made last fall. It is essential to split your rhubarb every five years.

When replanting, allow four feet between each root. The best time to transplant the rhubarb here is in the spring. It is important not to harvest any stalks the first year, to let all the energy go to get it established.

I’m so fortunate to have room for several rhubarbs, therefore I can harvest from the old stock. Rhubarb was grown in Europe before the 18th century and used for medicinal purposes.

I was asked the other day if I didn’t think a certain age was too late to plant fruit trees. I’m not sure any age matters.

This true story is about a man who was 80 years old when he decided to plant an orchard. Someone asked after some time how it was coming along? The answer was straightforward. The gentleman is now 90 and has just picked the first fruit from his orchard.

Please email me

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