06 June 2007

The Gold (berg) variations, or mellow with yellow

Not surprisingly, when I went to Bridgetown yesterday to give a talk, I had to stop at a variety of nurseries yet again. I’ve not yet written down the names of ALL the plants but I will tell you that another Green Envy Echinacea pleaded to come with me…and a Pink Spike cimicifuga did the same thing. As did a Deutzia Chardonay Pearls…with lovely gold-green foliage and pearly white buds. The back seat was mostly full, as the trunk was occupied by assorted electronic equipment. (Thank goodness, says my longsuffering spouse, amazed and bemused at all the plants…

This morning I was writing away at my desk and watching a hummingbird flit around the feeder outside my window. With her were a few goldfinches, and out beyond I could see the flowers of Lamiastrum, or yellow archangel. It happened I was playing one of my most favourite pieces of music at the time (on iTunes, not an instrument) Bach’s Goldberg variations, performed on the piano by the inimitable Glenn Gould. Surely this is one of the most perfect pieces of music ever…

...Though the twittering of goldfinches and the zooming of hummers is pretty fine too.
On a whim I went out and walked around to see what has popped into bloom since yesterday. Over the next several months, this will be a regular event, usually twice daily, as we walk around and savour the joy of green growing things flourishing and pollinating and just giving hope to our world.

If I have a favourite colour in the garden, it’s probably blue—but yellow and gold make me instantly happy. Sunlight made flesh, yellow flowers are, and the perfect anodyne to a foggy day on the mountain. Here’s a look at what’s flowering at our garden (now, hum along with Variation one…Dum dum di di dum dum…

Yellow corydalis. Doug Green rightly observes this is surely one of the longest flowering perennials, starting in late May and going until a hard frost takes it out in mid-late autumn. Self seeds politely, never uncouthly.

Yellow lamium. I like this for the gold in the foliage, and the contrasting shade of pink flowers. This lamium is a politely growing plant, less enthusiastic than its cousin lamiastrum, or yellow archangel. I love the lamiastrum too, however, especially as it’s easy to remove if it’s getting too exuberant

Portulaca is a memory garden plant: I put it in containers and at the edge of beds every summer in memory of my aunt Joyce, who dearly loved this plant—and cats. She was my mother’s twin, and always very good to me, and I miss her still.

I’ve discovered that yellow-flowered rhododendrons and azaleas make me very happy too. Golden Lights azalea came home the other day; this is Capistrano rhododendron, (I think)—not yet dwelling in our garden, but probably by the weekend…

As I’ve surely mentioned before, I’ve never met a poppy I didn’t adore. The various Icelandic and alpine poppies especially appeal to me, although I’m not sure of this one’s species. I must go check it. Regardless, its soft yellow colour makes me peacefully content with life.

Jubilation reigned supreme when I realized the yellow trillium was doing just fine, thank you. It has curious flowers, unlike the more showy painted, red, and white species, but between those dainty flowers and its mottled foliage, it’s a jewel in the shade garden.

Yellow globeflowers. I heard someone sneer about these ‘common’ plants that look like giant buttercups. Well, yes, they do…and they’re lovely, happy, wellbehaved plants, and much loved in my spring garden, common or not.

Last but not least on this mellow yellow tour is Thermopsis, or false lupine. We have lupines too, but they tend to come and go, while this plant politely grows in its clump each year, getting a bit bigger and generally minding its pees and queues. It looks great with the Mourning widow cranesbill that grows near it.

We’re only in to about variation 10 in the Goldberg, but that will do for tonight. Perhaps next I’ll do gold foliage. Won’t that be cheery fun?


  1. DID YOU REALLY GET A 'GREEN ENVY'??? Well, I'm green with envy then. I have yet to see it around here. I'm an echinacea junkie.

    Yellow is not my very favorite color in the garden (depends on the flower), but you've sure got some gorgeous ones!

  2. Thanks for that very cheerful tour set to music. :-) I'm glad you do not sneer at common plants, neither do I. Salt of the earth they are, love them to bits!

    What a wonderful name for a plant: Green Envy! :-)

  3. Actually, kylee...I have two Green Envys. I ordered two when they first came in, and brought only one home--the rest all died, apparently. The nursery ordered more from one of their regular suppliers, and called me on Tuesday. I bought one more...to go with Sunrise, Sundown, Harvest Moon, Jade, Magnus, White Swan, Double Decker, Echinacea paradoxa, and yer basic Echinacea purpurea. Can you tell that I really dig these plants? :-)
    Next colour show will probably be orange...

    YE: The only common plant that gets me cantankerous is goutweed (Aegopodium podegraria)...otherwise, i just rejoice in green and flowering things.

  4. Jodi: I love all those mentioned but that yellow trillium is just adorable! I love all yellow with the exception of 'school bus' yellow but I would make an exception for trollius as that flower is so unique. Thanks for sharing...as always.


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