Just one week ago, I took my pruners out in the cold and carefully chose a few branches from the forsythia bush to bring inside. It's that time of year when we're at the end of winter and anxious for spring, that we ambush Mother Nature and force her to play her hand. Forsythia is one of the easiest to force, and so are pussy willows. I tried the flowering quince, but the flower buds that popped out early got blasted by the cold and while I got the green leaves to show themselves, the flower buds had no life in them.
I only cut a few forsythia branches, because it blooms on the previous year's growth and I want the bush to still be beautiful when it blooms on its own time in late March/early April. Bloom time depends on the temperature of the soil, not the air.
The forsythia originated in Japan and was named as a genus in 1804, for William Forsyth, who was director of the Royal Garden at Kensington (England) at that time. For a history of the forsythia, a detailed account can be found at the Harvard University website.