Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Combination: Forsythia and Pachysandra terminalis

Forsythia shrub under-planted with Pachysandra terminalis for a finished looking spring combination.
Try a Forsythia shrub under-planted with Pachysandra terminalis for a finished looking spring combination.
Some of the best gardening ideas can be found all around the local area where you live. Just look around with the eyes of a curious gardener. Even in the most unlikely places, you may find some wonderful planting ideas. Cosmos in sidewalk crevices... wild asters in the railroad grade... veggie pots on an apartment steps. This combination came from observing my neighbors plantings on the way to dinner one evening.  It is found along our Front Walk and is effective, though incredibly simple.

Many people have Forsythia bushes, but adding in the green of Pachysandra terminalis* (also known as Japanese Pachysandra) or another evergreen ground cover really sets off its yellow flowers in early spring. Another option might be Vinca major (Periwinkle vine), which would flower purple at the same time the Forsythia is clothed in yellow.

Forsythia and Pachysandra terminalis in the Front Walk as a color echo to the Narcissus 'Tete-a-tete' in Cherry Corner garden.
Forsythia and Pachysandra terminalis in the Front Walk as a color echo to the Narcissus 'Tete-a-tete' in Cherry Corner garden.
These Forsythia bushes are an old unnamed varieties that I began as cuttings on our apartment windowsill many years ago, but there are many newer cultivars that are worth looking at. Forsythia 'Arnold Dwarf' looks like a great shrub for foundation plantings, small yards or anywhere that you do not want a 10x10 foot bush. It is hardy in zones 5-8, stays below 3 feet high, and can tolerate part shade, which is very helpful in a foundation plant.

*A map to check the invasiveness of Pachysandra terminalis in your area.
 

12 comments:

  1. zo mooi!! its springtime. groet, diny

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking lovely. I have a dwarf forsythia that seems to do the best and I am pulling those that are not...it is iffy for forsythias here due to sun, cold, wind...but the little one next to the driveway and all the blown snow does the best...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like how your daffodils repeat the yellow color too! Very pretty! Today I saw some blue columbine planted with a forsythia shrub and it was stunning color combo.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great idea! I have plenty of Pachysandra that I could transplant. I think I like the idea of the Vinca even better because of the purple/yellow combo! You're so right that you can good ideas just by walking around neighborhoods. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. How pretty! I don't have any forsythia bushes, but this makes me want to plant one! Lovely combination.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Simplicity is nearly always the best! I know you are always great on successional planting, does anything follow this? I don’t have Forsythia I always think its season is too short and it isn’t a nice enough shrub in summer, perhaps you grow something through yours? Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually do not have any vines growing through these shrubs, as the emphasis does shift to the other side of the grass path as the season progresses (see the Front Walk in September: http://wifemothergardener.blogspot.com/2011/09/front-walk-at-septembers-end.html). They are the green canvas for the flowers.

      There are also blueberry bushes planted between these forsythias, though they area still quite small. They had nice red foliage to this border in the fall, as the forsythia adds purple-tinged foliage.

      But! A clematis or annual vine would work wonderfully, just as it does in the mock orange (Philadelphus) by the Circle Lawn. And another under-planting idea in lieu of pachysandra is to use small spring bulbs: bright blue Scilla siberica, small daffodils, or crocuses.

      Forsythias seem to take a few years to really get flowering, but they have been worth the wait here.
      Thanks for asking!
      Julie

      Delete
    2. And one more option is buying the new korean forsythia that has mottled leaves, called Forsythia viridissima koreana :

      http://www.lazyssfarm.com/Plants/Shrubs/Cl-It%20Shrubs/Cl-It%20Images/forsythia_viridissima_koreana.htm

      or this one with golden leaves called Forsythia x intermedia 'Gold Leaf':

      http://www.lazyssfarm.com/Plants/Shrubs/Cl-It%20Shrubs/Cl-It%20Images/forsythia_intermedia_gold_leaf.htm

      Delete
  7. I have a dwarf forysthia that needs moving and you've just given me a wonderful idea as I've an area that that planting scheme would be perfect and I've got both the vinca and the Pachysandra (mine is well behaved!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rosie,
      Glad to help! It really does look nice with the daffodils in spring. I think that layering a planting is one of the keys to a nice design.
      Julie

      Delete
  8. Now that is a good idea for hiding the bare stems. I see Pachysandra planted in car parks but on its own and it just looks dull and boring but the Forysthia really lifts it.
    Thanks for the idea

    ReplyDelete
  9. I really like how the green groundcover sets off the forsythia. You are right, so often it is seen blooming in a wasteland of empty brown sticks. Your garden looks lovely and lush already!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...