Is there any yellow more intense than the bright, explosive yellow of a forsythia in bloom? A passionate yellow so brilliant it almost hurts the eye to stare into a mass of it's deeply four-lobed flowers. Not so orange as a dandelion and more yellow than a buttercup, it towers on slender stems up to a dozen feet long, each festooned with countless dazzling blooms—a luminous yellow spray, like a mix of fire and lightning.
One of the first things I did when I moved in here to this stone cottage beside the river was plant a couple of forsythias. My only regret is that I didn't put out a dozen. In the few years they've had, that pair of forsythia bushes have grown substantially, and now dominate the edge of the drive just below the road. In summer and autumn, they're just another large clump of green. In winter they become a massed scribble of tall, gently curving lines. But in early spring…oh, my! The forsythia pair overnight transform into a vivid vernal fountain—extraordinary, powerful, a potent seasonal cadmium yellow announcement that lights up a dark corner in the garden and simply dominates the landscape.
My old friend Frank used to say that spring wouldn't arrive until you'd seen snow on the forsythia's blooms. Here in Ohio, more years than not his dictum proves true. Typically, the forsythia begans blooming somewhere between the crocus and the daffodils. And in a normal year, you can expect at least a blustery snow or two—winter's last hurrah—to arrive during that period.
But not this year! Not when we've had no real winter, only an extend autumn. Not when most of March and a good deal of February sported temperatures in the seriously unseasonable 60s to mid-70s˚ range. Not when we've set record highs for days running, and may wind up experiencing the warmest winter on record. Not when we've already had days—before the equinox and thus still officially winter—topping 80˚F!
Nope, this year the daffodils beat the forsythia in the bloom race. Snow is not in the forecast, though sunburn this afternoon is quite possible. But it doesn't matter, not in regards to the great, uplifting delight—the sheer seasonal joy!—I receive every time I look up the hill and see that sensational yellow.
Forsythia yellow. The brightest yellow in all of spring!