It was a warm winter, so we probably won’t see any low blooming forsythia this year. There are many cultivars of Forsythia out there, and seemingly all the best blooming ones aren’t flower bud hardy this far north. The cutoff seems to be Zone 5, or about -20 below. At that temperature, or colder, the flower buds freeze and die. The plant itself, however, is fine. That is what makes them low blooming-I’m sure you’ve seen this before. A giant forsythia shrub, in full bloom from the ground up to about 1-2′. That’s the snow depth when it got really cold in the previous winter. Below the snow the flower buds were warm and protected, and bloom. Above the snow in the cold, they died.
When shopping for Forsythia, look for locally grown ones, or a cultivar called “Vermont Sun”, developed by Norman Pellett, by horticulture professor from UVM. Cultivars from box stores or local chain stores may come from further south, where the non-hardy ones do fine. I’ve seen several locdal stores like that selling all sorts of non-hardy plant material. But I digress, off the soapbox now.
The best forsythia story I have, however, is the case of a moving hedge. My parents had a hedge of forsythia in their backyard, and it moved 6′ forward…
The plant roots easily, and it’s habit is a long arching shrub. The long, lanky stems grow up about 6-8 feet, and then gradually arch over toward the ground. My parents slacker son (hey, I was young) didn’t prune the hedge at all, and the tips had rooted into the ground, making new shrubs, and hence a new hedge 6′ out from the old one.