Field of Science

Under planted perennials - dwarf forsythia

There are quite a number of perennials that remain very much under planted largely because they are not so common in the trade.  Finding new plants has certainly gotten easier with e-commerce and mail-order nurseries.  Most plant purveyors take the Ohio liquor commission's approach.  After a sales survey (many years ago) discovered that 15% of their stock made up 85% of their sales, the Ohio state liquor stores removed most of their stock, so tough if you don't drink Budswater or Jim Bleem.  Most nuseries carry just the common stock that people are familiar with.  Not much appears for us discriminating gardeners.  So now and again TPP will try to turn your attention to some rather under appreciated plants that you really should consider.  Several come to mind and TPP will do an occasional series on this topic.  First off is the dwarf forsythia, Abeliophyllum distichum, which as you see isn't a forsythia at all although it is in the olive family and is a small to medium sized early spring-flowering shrub.  The flower color is white with a hint of pink, and a pinker variety is also around (var. rosea).  The overall appearance is lacey and they look especially nice against a back drop of dark green.  This shrub handles light shade quite well, and it isn't fussy about soil or water; not sure about the hardiness; zone 5 is not a problem at all.  For some reason dwarf forsythia just isn't known and seldom planted; it seems more common in Europe.   

1 comment:

Eric said...

You didn't mention the fragrance. I cut a few whips of Abeliophyllum every spring, and just two or three of them gradually perfume several rooms with an exquisite yet delicate scent, a bit reminiscent of plum blossom. No commonplace Forsythia can do that!