If it feels like spring and flower sightings are yellow it must be forsythia. Not so fast! Forsythia has long been considered “THE” harbinger of spring and a warning to watch out for the germination of landscape weeds to soon follow. However, there are several other spring beauties in yellow dress.
Corneliancherry dogwood (Cornus mas) flashes bright yellow in a big way but a little earlier and a little larger than forsythia. It is a large shrub or small tree reaching a height of about 15 to 20 feet and branches to the ground unless trained into tree form. Like forsythia, it explodes with 100’s of yellow flowers dripping from every branch. It is a tough plant that uniquely offers a beautiful exfoliating/flaky bark. It is a nice to have in the corner of your yard in front of a southern magnolia, cryptomeria, arborvitae, holly or camellia evergreen backdrop.
Another early bloomer from China, and blooming now, is the Chinese paper bush, Edgeworthia papyrifera. Like the Corneliancherry dogwood above, it is not a plant that you find often, but more nurseries are beginning to carry it and it is in many of our botanical gardens. The Chinese children call it a knot tree due to the rubbery, flexibility of its branches which can be twirled and tied into knots without breaking. I often call it the Hershey Kisses shrub, (which is the problem with common names; everyone has a different one) because of the dangling silvery buds which later open to white or yellow flowers. The fragrance is strong if you bury you nose in the shrub and reminds you of Daphne but less potent. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall with a suckering, spreading habit. These earlier bloomers do not compete with forsythia but add to the pallet of yellow for your spring garden. Everyone should have one or 20!
Spring is here! Hang on, the show begins!
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