At this time of year forsythia really puts on a show. Typically flowering before many other spring blooming trees and shrubs like magnolia and cherry, forsythia stands out in the gloomy gray of April in Chicago. The waving, wispy golden yellow arms of the shrub really do seem to shine. The yellow flowers can be seen from blocks away beckoning and calling. For two weeks forsythia has few rivals.

Unfortunately, the other 50 weeks of the year, forsythia tends to be overgrown, leggy and uninteresting. As such finding a spot in the garden for forsythia is a challenge. Perhaps tucked in a corner of a bed or in the background of later season flowering shrubs and perennials. If you do plant forsythia, know that the optimal time to trim is soon after flowering as it sets the following years flower early in the season. Trim too late and you risk winding up with an uneventful show. Below are a couple specimens on view in Logan Square.

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