Mysterious sudden death of established flowering shrub
We have a holiday house in northern Brittany with a small front garden and a small border next to a low wall between us and next door. It faces south and has sun most of the day until about 3, and is in a fairly sheltered spot. About 15 years ago I planted a forsythia in the middle with eunonimous on either side. An existing ivy lives at the end and covers the horrible wire fence! (photos) I cut it back every year at the correct time to keep it from covering the path and it has always been fabulous and covered with blooms when we arrive in the early spring. (photo). This year we arrived late, in May, to find it is completely dead. Everything else in the garden is a bit overgrown, as is usual after the winter, and there has been a lot of rain already this spring. I am mystified as to why it has just died and that is my question. All the branches have buds on but have dried out before the flowers could form. They are usually very hardy. Any ideas as to why would be helpful. I am hesitant to get another one and may replace it with something else but not sure what yet.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You mention a lot of rain... This is a common cause for infection. If you aren't near the plant often, then this can be enough time to completely kill off a plant. I recommend applying dolomitic lime and wettable sulfur to the area. This will kill off most infections, and prep the soil for replanting. Should the shrub die, you will want to make sure that whatever killed it is dead, or it will happen again. This treatment will ensure that the soil is clean for the next planting.