The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens

What’s Blooming: Fall Forsythia


There really isn’t such a plant as a Fall Forsythia, but mine seems to blooming in spite of several hard frosts and a snowfall. Tomorrow, highs are expected at sixty degrees fahrenheit, but I don’t believe temperature is the reason for the unexpected fall blooms.


Apparently a period of stress, followed by improved growing conditions will cause a Forsythia to bloom “off key.” My Forsythia has grown enormous and is in need of a good pruning (which I am waiting for until early spring so I can actually see the structure of this shrub even though I will sacrifice some of those spring blooms). I am sure this shrub stressed during an August dryspell in very crowded conditions. The Forsythia anchors the first bed I created (the Bird & Butterfly Garden), and the entire bed is in need of dividing and thinning. It is also the site of the Black-Eyed Susan Gang Takeover. A rival Joe Pye Gang is also gaining a lot of ground. (I’m thinking I will have a big haul of nice, native plants to offer our cooperative extension for the Master Gardener Plant Sale!)

Aside from Forsythia blooms, it is difficult to believe I do not have much of anything blooming outdoors in the garden at this time. Seems to me it is much too early in the winter season. I did find a brave little Calendula bloom among some Lambs Ear. The honeysuckle has bloomed into December in years past.



There are other things going on, however – berries! My young Winterberry shrubs are in “full-berry” – the red on Ilex verticillata ‘Oosterwijk’ already picked over by birds. The Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Gold’ still sporting a beautiful orange spray of berries. These shrubs will  be up to 8 feet tall when full grown. They are pollinated by Ilex verticillata ‘Southern Gentleman.’ I have a young Hicks Yew, Taxus x media ‘Hicksii,’ as a backdrop. I am waiting for the day when these plants “come together.”



My Cranberry Viburnum along the Nice Driveway is also displaying its berries.


The star of the garden currently is the Pin Oak, Quercus Palustris, which has grown another two feet this year at least! It is still holding most of its leaves and they are a beautiful shade of dark red – a contender for Pam’s (at Digging) Foliage Follow Up. (I remember its first winter in the garden it was nearly girdled by a rabbit.)


I have installed a copper rain chain instead of a downspout off our back porch (if you can make it out from the ugly green board). Now I have two copper-topped bird feeders (the other a small suet feeder hanging by the chain), and the chain – I love these warm, glowing copper accents in the winter garden – “blooms” if you will.


Indoors plants are fairing well. Violets are in bloom. The Thanksgiving Cactus is in bud in the succulent table top garden. My current favorite succulent is Flapjacks, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. Its leaves remind me of a large flower bud.






Thank you for joining me for yet another Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and thank Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting.

Author: Kathy Sturr

Artist, master gardener, plant-based chef. Florida's Nature Coast / Indian River Lakes, NY

8 thoughts on “What’s Blooming: Fall Forsythia

  1. Those berries look lovely in your garden. I was wondering is that an Alabama Crimson Honeysuckle? I have one and it looks a lot like that, and I was wondering? My indoor garden is Kale, Swiss Chard, and some herbs…I get so lazy in the winter that I tend to avoid too many plants inside, but I admire your indoor garden,too. Very pretty! 🙂

    • Hi Robbie, I love Winterberry! I mostly planted berries for the birds but they sure do add to the garden. I am not certain of the honeysuckle. I think it is our native coral honeysuckle (lonicera sempervirens). It was purchased as a gift from the Syracuse Farmer’s Market – no tags. It certainly is suited for this climate – it also gets berries! I have never grown chard or kale indoors … hmmm.

  2. The burgundy oak leaves look great, my oaks just have brown leaves. I like the copper accents, I haven’t heard of a rain chain, it would be fun to see it in action.

    • Hi Hannah, I think only the Pin Oak gets a little color of all the Oaks. Bet you have beautiful Oak trees. I would plant more if I had more room! White, Swamp. I do have a short video of the rain chain in action perhaps I’ll post it some day soon. I love it! It should get a nice patina over time. I just have to find a weather proof barrel for it to drain in.

  3. Pretty red leaves on that pin oak, and I LOVE berrying plants! Thanks for joining in with your foliage pics. I smiled at your title and opening comments because I thought, I bet she’d love forsythia sage, Salvia madrensis. Have you ever grown it? I first saw it at Chicago Botanic Garden, and I’m sure it’s an annual up there. Here it’s a perennial and blooms in fall — right now — with yellow sprays of flowers — kinda like the forsythia shrub, if you squint really hard.

  4. Kathy some lovely foliage and blooms and I love all the berries….strange to see forsythia. I found a few honeysuckle blooms too.

    • Hi Donna, I can’t recommend honeysuckle enough! Although mine did suffer from aphids earlier in the spring this year. A few cutbacks and a good hose spraying and it recovered nicely. A beautiful plant and strong performer!

  5. Hi Pam, no I have not heard of Forsythia Sage and of course, just had to look it up! Beautiful and yes, would be an annual here but one that I need to try. I have yet to have luck overwintering my cooking sage – think the soil’s too wet. I will try again in pots come 2014 and overwinter in the house. I love sage. Thank you for introducing me to a new plant!

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