Many of you probably read the story in yesterday's WashPost Metro section on the supposed early-blooming of plants in the DC area caused allegedly by global warming or an extremely mild winter. Within the story it is pointed out that the "early" Cherry blossoms may well be a variety that regularly bloom in winter.
I'd also like to point out the fact that all the "Forsythia" referred to in their article as being seen in bloom all over town is most likely Winter Jasmine instead. Even experienced gardeners seem to get the plants mixed up and it is a shame, as they both deserve a place in your landscape for no other reason but then to lengthen the flower season. What is the difference between the two other than the bloom time? The Winter Jasmine flower is a bit smaller and more of a buttery yellow, while Forsythia is a larger, more sunshine yellow bloom. The Winter Jasmine can be evergreen, while Forsythia blooms in early spring on bare branches, then leafs out. Finally, Winter Jasmine can be pruned into shrub form, but left naturally it is a weeper and looks striking spilling over the top of a stone wall or along a steep bank. It is not a fast grower and likes damp soil. Forythia has a weeping form, but most definitely grows upright in shrub form. It prefers well-drained soil and is a fast-grower (to say the least!). Pictured is a planter near the mall downtown filled with Winter Jasmine.
And all that bulb foliage that is thrusting out of the ground now? Relax. It happens every winter. You just notice it more without a layer of snow, mulch, or leaves. UPDATE: Tune into WETA 90.9 The Intersection from 11:00am-12:00noon on Friday, January 5 for a lively discussion of this topic. Join the conversation.
PS Looking to get your photography skills up to par for our Garden Photo Contest? Visit this terrific page for some great basic photo tips. I especially like #5 Use Natural Lighting and #17 Move Closer.