Sunday, 3 May 2015

Why Do I Grow Forsythia For Wildlife?

If you walked into my garden you would see a burst of bright yellow sunshine from one shrub in particular. Yet the forsythia shrub isn't one that fills most gardeners hearts with delight. It is so very common and for much of the year is simply a green shrub.


However for me it signifies one of the joys of Spring. It never fails, it has beautiful bright yellow blooms on bare branches, it lives happily and healthily with little attention from me in our mixed hedge alongside a lot of competition for food and water,yet it ihas never become a thug in the garden. 


All I need to do is to prune it once a year immeditely after flowering and for the rest of the year I pretty much forget about it. 


Why do I grow Forsythia?


I have one forsythia we inherited with the garden and one we planted from my Mums garden.  


 Well for the few weeks of that bright yellow bloom, I just love it and it shines out so much at this time of year, a beautiful burst of sunshine yellow - when often there is not that much sunshine around. 


It is reliable, it flowers on cue every year, no worrying about it or tending it to get it to flower. I don't feed it or water it and yet it rewards me every year with a stunning if short sunshine display. 


It is an early flowering shrub. It is very important to have at least a couple of early flowering shrubs in the garden for wildlife. When not much else is flowering well it is an excellent source of nectar for those insects emerging from their winter homes and for all the early bees who are in need of a good meal.


 If planting new shrubs do make sure they are single flowering, which the bees and other insects can feed from, rather than the double varieties which are much harder or impossible for them to make use of.


For our forsythia in the hedge especially I notice each year the birds adopt it or near it as a nest site, especially the blackbirds and sometimes the thrushes. The Woodpigeons often spedn a lot of time resting on or near it in the hedge as well.  It is shrubby and strong and the branches all cross cross in the hedge and so it is a good place to build a nest.  


So for a gardener it is not difficult to grow and perhaps not the most beautiful of plants most of the year but it serves a very important purpose in our garden and I am happy to give it some space.



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