Friday, June 3, 2011


Was watching the show “Who do you think you are” the other night and it featured the English TV personality, Bruce Joseph Forsyth Johnson, CBE. The show focused very strongly on his great grandfather Joseph Forsyth Johnson (1840–1906) who was a landscape architect of some esteem, who worked in Russia, Ireland and the United States. However as well as noting his many horticultural achievements, most of the program focused on the fact that he had and left two families. One in England and One in America.
Not knowing much about Bruce Forsythe in the first place, my daughter checked him out on the Net, as I did myself later. Imagine my surprise, when upon checking out Bruce on Wikipedia, I found out that as important as Bruce’s great grandfather was, he was nowhere as important to the Horticultural world and gardeners the world over, as Bruce’s great-great-great-great grandfather William Forsyth (1737–1804) was. This Forsythe Johnson, was a founder of the Royal Horticultural Society and the namesake of the plant genus Forsythia*. A long popular and pretty garden plant still very common today.
Needless to say, as a wannabe gardener, I was a bit disappointed that this program spent so much time on the scandalous side of his family, and none on the others and the more important, even if less salubrious side, of Bruce’s ancestry.
Which I guess is true of life in general too! Yes how much time do each of us spend focusing on the important things, as opposed to time spent focusing on the salubrious and scandalous? Again over to you for reflection now.
*For those who don’t know, Forsythias are fast-growing shrubs between one, to one and a half metres high with an upright and arching form that flower in early spring. These early bloomers sport vibrant yellow flowers that precede their leaves.
I don’t currently have a forsythia, but have had a few in the past and they are both lovely and interesting with the flowers coming on bare stems first, then followed by the leaves. The flowering branches can also be used as Cut flowers too. In fact that is how I first came to be attracted to them. It was back in the days of the old Queen Vic Market, when it was still a wholesale fruit and Veg market.
I was working with my dad at the time on his fruit and Veg round and selling a few plants on the side. Anyway while picking up my plants from the Plant section of the old Market one day, I spied and picked up this discarded yellow flowering branch, as much to discover its identity as anything else. After taking it home and putting it in water, later it also started to grow roots, and so, that was how I got my first forsythia.

No comments: