New forsythia is sunny all summer

Dramatic variegated foliage follows early flowers to keep this forsythia yellow all summer

Most variegated forsythias have been a disappointment. But now we have a brand new forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia John Mitchell ('Discovery'), developed in Britain, with bright yellow leaf margins to follow the yellow flowers. This one looks like the real thing.

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Discovery’Introduced by Hillier this season, I asked Charles Carr, Head of Hillier Wholesale Nurseries, to tell me about it.

“This new variety boasts distinctive creamy-yellow margined foliage, a strong, upright habit and bears a profusion of bright yellow flowers in early spring,” he told me.

“The introduction of Forsythia John Mitchell  comes after it was found fifteen years ago in the garden of John Mitchell, First Officer in the UK Merchant Navy. John propagated his new variegated sport from just a single 15cm twig he found on a forsythia in his garden.

“Sadly John passed away in 2013 but had a great love for the sea and finished his career working on oceanography research vessels. One of his last ships was the RSS Discovery, making Forsythia John Mitchell ('Discovery') an apt choice of name.

“After his death his sister took on the plant and then brought some cuttings to Hillier nurseries where it spent several years on trial to check stability, and distinctiveness, among other things – the Hillier trial process is always a slow and measured one. Having grown it out in a few conditions we started to bulk it up and it’s now released.”

John Mitchell provides a brilliant early spring floral display followed by foliage edged in buttercup yellow, becoming creamier as the months pass.

Forsythia x intermedia John Mitchell ('Discovery') is available exclusively from Hillier in 2022.
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an official endorsement from the RHS.

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