If you were to ask me what one of my favorite plantings at Connecticut Country House is, I would have to start with the forsythia. I think my love of forsythia started when I was growing up on Melville Avenue with my dad planting a long row of them as a natural fence between our next-door neighbor and us. My dad always kept the shrubs trimmed and neatly shaped. I have to say that even though he did a meticulous job, I always loved the shrubs in the “before” state – wild and overgrown.
The forsythias at Connecticut Country House are planted en masse on a bank where I keep them under control – but wild looking. This bank creates a fabulous dense backdrop of color for the house – brilliant golden yellow in the spring, deep green all summer long, and tinge to burgundy in the autumn.
I love the versatility of these shrubs. Other than masking (and making the most of) the hilly landscape directly behind the house, the mass planting has added privacy and beautiful sightlines. To grow hearty shrubs (and speed up the growing process) I add shovelfuls of compost to the base of the plants (they love t!), and cut them back when done flowering. Every year we add a couple more plants to keep this bank growing, as well as allow the branches that hit the ground to root themselves.
One of the things I love most about planting flowering shrubs, is that when they’re in bloom, I have a rich resource for cut arrangements for indoors, as well as outdoors. For example, indoors I take the long lengths and simply arrange them in an overscaled glass container. For outdoors, I create full bouquets of freshly cut branches mixed with faux forsythia stems for hanging baskets on the doors and large planters at the entrance.