Saturday, April 05, 2008
The Magic of Forsythia (2)
People frequently plant this shrub because it is adaptable to many conditions. Few diseases can attack a forsythia bush. It is easy to reproduce either by cuttings or by pruning it back. In addition, the shrub will root itself by drooping branches on the ground. Later, these branches will root on the spot.
People also like the forsythia because it acts as a living wall or a privacy fence. When this bush is leafed out, it forms a dense screen. Forsythia shields people from unpleasant things, and offers privacy.
With its vigorous growth, one forsythia bush can overrun a large area. According to horticultural experts, in five years, a shrub can grow eight feet tall (nearly three meters) and five feet across, (almost two meters.) Because of this ease in taking over an area, it is often listed as an invasive plant species. Unless forsythia is carefully monitored, it can crowd out native plant species. The shadow side of forsythia is its heedless dominance.
These aspects of the forsythia help me to understand its relations with the fairies. The bush provides places for the fairies and other nature spirits to dance. The forsythia protects them from view, and offers them shelter.
In this aspect, forsythia acts as a gateway to the Otherworlds. If you stand quietly on a bright spring day, you can see the fairies come and go. Also on quiet summer evenings, the nature spirits peer shyly from underneath the leaves. This ordinary plant keeps secrets well.
The forsythia helps people to understand that they can grow where they are planted. They can be transformed into something better. Be brave and go out into the cold world to bring happiness is what the forsythia counsels us. However, always be aware the shadow side of forsythia - excessive and overwhelming force. As we do with the fairies, we must also approach the forsythia with caution. This bush’s good qualities must be tempered with moderation.
Bradford, Nikki, “Heal Yourself with Flowers and Other Essences”, Quadrille Publishing Ltd, London, 2006
Wells, Diana, “100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names”, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 1997