Forsythia : Love/Hate Relationship

When I was younger (waaayy younger), my days of getting with my friends over a typical Saturday pick-up football game, would be suddenly halted by the dreaded words of “yard work”. Now these games were always planned from Monday, through the week by my friends on when, where, who, etc… We were, afterall, living the life of our beloved football jerseys which we wore constantly. We got them for birthdays, Christmas, etc. We all were pro’s ourselves when the numbered, colored jerseys were on our backs. We were fearless, until….

“I need you to help with cutting down the Yellow Bells in Nannies yard”, AAARRRGGG!!! Not today, please! …but the game….  Now I always knew it would be a losing argument, but a kid of 14 almost needs to keep the defiance going, only to lose by default. I would always picture the game waiting on me to show up, well because, afterall, I wore the jersey of Alan Page from the 70’s Viking era… They needed me to make spectacular plays along with Csonka, Butkis,Riggins, Bilitnikoff, whatever….  Yeah, I was hatin’ Forsythia.

Now, as time wore on through my life, grew up, moved on, every time I saw Forsythia, I shuddered to myself of the entire days used up cutting back this dreadful shrub. The whip injuries, sweat, held back tears of not getting to play football with my buds… Yep, a good thing to hate. Now that I am older (waaaayy older), I have grown to cherish the nemesis. I was fortunate enough to acquire my Grandparents home after their passing. The Forsythia, still there. I now respect it’s worth.

I can tell time with Forsythia in a phenological way. See, when Forsythia blooms, things are happening. I am also one of those anal folks who watch the addition of minutes of daylight form around January 3rd and on. When we are getting 2 minutes a day, I get really energized. As of this posting, we have gained over a half an hour, and I feel it. Soon, I will get my soil temp probe out to see what is right. The angle of the sun is rocketing overhead now. Here’s the skinny on the poop on Forsythia. When Forsythia blooms, then the soil temp has been 58 degrees at 4 inches for 5 days straight. Most of your seedling weeds and annuals start to germinate with this same scenario at 7 days… Hmm. Forsythia is my friend. I then know when to put down my pre-emergent on my lawn and in my beds. I know to check my Hostas and Sedums, along with my Hardy Bananas and to feed them for the season. In just a couple of days, it will be time to solarize my vegetable garden for April planting. Furthermore, in a few weeks, the Oak leaves will be the size of a squirrels ear, time to plant my corn….

OK. For someone who loathed this vile shrub in the past, I can say, “Thanks Nanny, for shoving this wicked plant down my throat now and then”. I get cuttings every year from my yard, and they are in bloom, now, in my home, just to remind me of my Grandparents, and times I should have paid more attention to my surroundings, but, I truly could make those fantastic plays with that old jersey…  It is time again to pay attention.

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