Just as Picasso had his blue period, our garden has its Yellow Period. Actually, there’s an Early and a Late Yellow Period. The Early Yellow Period starts in late July and is defined by 3 plants I refer to as the Jolly Yellow Giants.

Yellow Coneflower below, Cutleaf Coneflower above.

I’ve written recently about Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), the shortest of the Jolly Giants at about 5′ tall. The middle-sized Giant grows 7-8′ in our garden and is known as Golden Glow or Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata).

Cutleaf Coneflower aka Golden Glow

You can see how R. laciniata got the common name Golden Glow.


Aside from being taller than Yellow Coneflower, Cutleaf Coneflower has wider rays colored a deeper hue. Instead of flopping down, these rays are held away from the stem. Plus, the disc flowers of the central cone ripen to yellow rather than brown (remember the Russian fur hats?).

Cup Plant

The tallest of the three giants is Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum), which grows to about 10′ in our garden.

Cup Plant with Wild Bergamot

Both Cutleaf Coneflower and Cup Plant go nicely with Wild Bergamot. They bloom together and have nicely contrasting colors and habits.


Here’s a picture taken from the driveway will all 3 of the Jolly Yellow Giants blooming together.


And here’s a picture taken from the sidewalk. This makes it more clear that the Yellow Coneflower and Cutleaf Coneflower are in the Driveway Border, while the Cup Plant stands at the back of the Front Island Bed.

The Late Yellow Period starts in August and features the blooms of Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida) and Brown Eyed Susan (R. triloba).

I sometimes wonder if I’ve got too much yellow in July and August. However, the yellow is really concentrated in the Driveway Border and (during the Late Yellow Period) the Parkway Bed. . If you look at the Front Garden as a whole, the other beds and borders provide sufficient contrasting colors in summer. At least, that’s what I think at the moment.

39 Comments on “Our Early Yellow Period”

  1. Too much yellow??? How could that be? I don’t think so. The forms are a bit different. They make you look them over. I do have a question. I have read that Cup Plant is very aggressive. Have you had yours very long and do you find you have to get after it all the time to keep it in control?

  2. Yellow never was a favorite of mine, although it is better than purple, (ick!). However, my neighbors preferred yellow and orange for the old home in town, because it was painted a harvest gold, which also was not my favorite color. It was cool to work with a color that I never would have considered working with.

  3. I think of yellow and purple as summer/late summer colors because so many of our natives combine that way: goldenrod and beautyberry, for example. I really like that first photo of the cup plant. It’s so dramatic — I didn’t realize it would grow that tall.

  4. What fabulously big, bold plants–and they are herbaceous and vanish in winter? That must be fun. In my climate, big stays big and gets even bigger. Temporary big sounds great. Not many plants will do that here–Cannas would be one.

    Lots of yellow in my garden–not my favorite color, but they do so well. Better a healthy plant than one of a choice color that fails. .

  5. 10′ tall…OMG, that’s impressive, especially since they don’t collapse. It’s a lovely look at the front garden. I find the dark center of those cheerful flowers echoes perfectly the black in the house color.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: