Is Yellow Just Too Common?
Why is it that Sissinghurst has a White Garden but not a Yellow Garden? Perhaps yellow is just a bit too insistently cheerful, like those morning people who sing and bustle about while you try to burrow into your newspaper.
Also, I read somewhere that yellow is the most common color for wildflowers, and its omnipresence may make it seem less desirable. Botanists even have an expression, DYC, or Damn Yellow Composites, for the myriad species of yellow daisy-like flowers of the Sunflower Family.
I do like yellow flowers and we have quite a few of them in our garden. However, I would never have an all-yellow garden. Yellow definitely needs companion colors to be at its best in the garden.
Anyhow, let’s consider the yellow flowers in our garden, starting with the Crocuses in early spring. They are particularly cheerful on a cold day in March.
Yellow Narcissi are as common as dandelions, but no less loved because of it. I’m afraid I don’t remember the name of this variety.
The fuzzy, pale yellow flowers of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) are a welcome if understated sight.
Forsythia, on the other hand, throws understatement to the winds.
There are many, many yellow tulips – by my favorite is the lily-flowered tulip ‘West Point’.
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) is a tough plant that self-sows aggressively. However, I can’t resist those poppy-like flowers in May.
Yellow Foxgloves (Digitalis ambigua), are perennial rather than biennial. I actually prefer their pale yellow to the gaudier colors of the biennial D. purpurea.
We probably have better pictures of Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea). It’s a robust and adaptable plant with attractive umbels of tiny yellow flowers.
I really can’t say that I have a single favorite yellow flower. However, I think I can say that Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) is one of the top three. I love the way the drooping golden petals (ray flowers) hold the light.
There really are too many varieties of yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis). I do like this one, though. I’ve forgotten the cultivar name, so I just call it Big Banana.
Yellow Asiatic Lilies are another matter – the world does not suffer from a surplus of these. This one came in a naturalizing mix, and I never knew its name.
Another of my yellow favorites: Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum). It’s tall. It’s yellow. Get used to it.
More lovely yellow Lilium. This is the Oriental-Trumpet hybrid ‘Conca D’Or’.
And this is the Oriental Lily ‘Gold Band’.
Let me close with my favorite Rudbeckia, a star of late summer and autumn, Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba). The clouds of little golden daisies are enchanting.
And finally, golden wands of Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), definitely my favorite Goldenrod.
Would you plant a Yellow Garden? What are your favorite yellow flowers?