21 July 2013

'And they were all Yellow..."

I remember there was a time when I thought I didn't like the colour yellow. Maybe it was because of the awful lemon-yellow of painted walls, or harvest gold appliances, of my childhood and youth. I do not wear the colour yellow, but I love my softly yellow walls in my home, and the cheerful colours of so many yellow flowers. I'm still not particularly a fan of school-bus yellow flowers, but there are so many other, more subtle and gorgeous flower colours, and this seems to be my year to plant a lot of yellow. Starting, of course, with one of my favourite roses, 'Graham Thomas'. 

There have been challenges with growing some of the new cultivars of coreopsis in the past few years. Some of them have turned out to be not hardy, and have disappeared from the gardening scene. Others are tried and true performers, like this threadleaf coreopsis, 'Moonbeam', which is my favourite. 
 I'm giving this variety a try this year, too. 'Full Moon' is like a larger version of 'Moonbeam', with wider petals and larger flowers, but still with that soft yellow colour.
 Sometimes, it's hard to see the difference between one new variety and another. This is coreopsis 'Creme Brule', and although it sets me craving that particular dessert, I don't see a huge difference between it and 'Full Moon'. Does anyone else?
Regular readers know of my ongoing adoration for coneflowers, both the regular native varieties and the new hybrids. This is 'Daydream', which holds its colour better than 'Sunrise', but isn't as gold as 'Harvest Moon'. I love the green centre to the eye, which changes to gold as the flower opens. 
 'Sandy Yellow' is from the Sombrero series of coneflowers, and it performed well for me last year. Its flowers do fade a little in colour as they mature, but most coneflowers DO change colour, and that seems to be part of their enormous appeal to me. Along with their importance to pollinators, their long season of bloom, their great stems for cut flowers in the house...they are irresistible to me.
'Evening Glow' is an interesting variety which does definitely change colour. The petals are more orange-pink toward the central cone, and yellow to gold at the outside edges. This is its first real season in my garden so I'm watching it with great interest. I don't think the colour change is as dramatic as in 'Hot Papaya', a double flowered red form, but I sure am enjoying it.
 This is a completely new plant to me that came from Lloyd Mapplebeck at Hillendale Perennials in Truro. It's Asphodeline lutea, known by the common names of Kingspear or Aaron's Rod. It has grassy green leaves and spikes of cheery yellow flowers. Apparently it has handsome seedpods, so I will look forward to seeing those in a few weeks time.
 I never met a shasta daisy I didn't love--I even love the wild oxeye daisies, with their cheery white and yellow flowers nodding gently along roadsides and yes, even growing wild in the garden. This cultivar of shasta is called 'Gold Rush'--the flower petals eventually turn all white but they're doubled and ruffly and quite delightful. There's a single form that is more yellow, 'Banana Creme', but I haven't added that to my garden yet. There is only so much room, after all!
I mentioned the wild oxeye daisy above, and here is another delightful (to me) wildflower with soft yellow colouring. It's sulphur cinquefoil, (Potentilla recta sulphurea), blooming now along roadsides, in my back yard, in many sunny locations. I infinitely prefer the perennial, herbaceous cinquefoils to the shrubby ones, and have several non-yellow cultivars in my garden. Pollinators seem to very much like the potentillas, which is another good reason to leave the wildflowers alone. 
 There are both woody and herbaceous varieties of St. John's Wort, although the woody ones are pretty much all ornamental/introduced, at least in this part of the world. The wild varieties have clusters of small yellow flowers, and aren't particular showy--the woody ones tend to have larger flowers and are quite wonderful. This one is Hypericum 'Gold Cup' or 'Golden Cup' (labels seem to vary). The flowers are about 2-3 inches across and gleam in the sunshine. Other varieties have smaller flowers but showy berries of green, red, white, or purple, used in flower arranging and very handsome indeed!
 Prickly pear cactuses will grow here provided they are in well drained soil. There are a number of different varieties at my friend Rob Baldwin's nursery in Falmouth, as he is beginning to collect them. Some have rose or orange flowers, but there are also various shades of yellow, and they look like sunshine in a rock garden.
 Of the six rosebushes I have planted this year, four of them are yellow. You saw 'Graham Thomas'  above; there are also the Austin roses 'Golden Celebration' and 'Crocus', and this completely new-to-me rugosa hybrid, 'Rugelda'. I have one more to add, the Canadian Artist series rose 'Campfire', but I need to make a spot for it!
 Instead of red-hot pokers, how about yellow hot pokers? (Kniphofia). I really like how this one starts out green and turns yellow as the florets enlarge and open.
 There are oodles and oodles and oodles of yellow daylilies, pretty much all of them better than the deadly boring 'Stella d'Oro' which populates so many unimaginative mass plantings done by lazy so-called landscapers. This soft yellow one is called 'Joan Senior'. It reminds me of that lemon fluff dessert that my mother used to make when we were kids. Cool and soothing in the heat of a summer day.
Although I know there is a new gold to yellow lewisia called 'Little Mango', this variety is from the 'Rainbow' mix and doesn't have a name. It's like the portulaca mixes that come in a variety of unnamed colours, but are delightful regardless of name or lack of...
...And let us end this feast of yellows with that unnamed yellow portulaca. I always, always grow portulaca every summer, in memory of my mother's twin sister, Joyce. She loved these cheery flowers, and so do I. 

What is your favourite yellow flower?


  1. I love all these pale yellows, and quite a few of them appear in my garden as well. That prickly pear in particularly is one of my all-time favorites.

  2. I enjoyed seeing your flowers. I like your coneflowers and coreopsis.

  3. I don't know if shrubs count, but one of my favourite yellow flowers is forsythia - partly because it's one of the early-blooming plants of spring!

  4. We inherited a garden full of heliopsis and rudbeckia. This Yellow nay-sayer didn't like it at first. But now I'm loving their sunny glow. May even break down and buy some coreopsis!

  5. Did not know that we could grown cactii here in Nova Scotia.

    I've got several yellow flowers in my garden but don't know what they are ...

  6. Jodi, I'm the very same way about yellow flowers and we once again share some of the same varieties in our gardens. I really don't have a favorite yellow one, but I just posted a photo of Hemerocallis 'Prairie Champ' that's a lovely pure shade of almost-peachy yellow. Very fragrant and large, too.

  7. Wow - gorgeous selections! I'm particularly in love with that lewisia...how sweet! :)

    My favourite yellow flowers in my garden are the yellow flax and the aurinia - they're both so bright and cheerful.

    Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

  8. I too have had a problem with yellow and you make an excellent point about the appliances of our youth (did you have those awful avocado colored ones as well?) and not being able to wear the color (me too). In fact, I began a blog where I went on (and on) about my love of blue flowers by rejecting yellow. However, your photos are enough to make me a believer! Beautiful work! I especially love the nameless Lewisia. What a gem!

  9. Jodi ... I think you would really love Julia Child rose ... it is a gorgeous yellow and the scent is divine! ... I had my doubts when I bought it .. but I am so glad I did!
    Joy : )

  10. What a sweet post. I completely agree with you on the Stella d'Oro Lilies. I'm so tired of seeing them ad nauseam on every block and in every private and public garden. Ick. That Lewisia "Little Mango" is something special! I guess some of my favorite yellow flowers are Daffodils (in the early spring) and Sunflowers in the summer. Great post!

  11. Enjoyed finding your post today. Beautiful rose, and yellow here is fine by me. JC

  12. I'm the person with a four-room house and 11 partially used cans of yellow paint in the basement -- so I'm clearly a fan of yellow, and I love all of yours. I was fascinated to have you list Moonbeam, a coreopsis that I could never get to thrive in my garden, as a tried and true cultivar. This year, I'm trying 'Full Moon' as a substitute; I hope it will be happier in my conditions than 'Moonbeam.' -Jean

  13. You have chosen all the perfect yellow blooms...golden yellow I am not fond of much but those pale yellows are yummy.

  14. Good to know about the coreopsis. I was just thinking I would love to add some to my flower bed, think I'll stick with the tried and true moonbeam.

  15. I have right yellow zinneas and marigold in the garden this year. They brighten up the back yard.


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