Continuing our colour coding of the garden, this week, if yellow is your thing, we bring you a host of butter-toned cultivars. Yellow is considered, in psychological circles, to effects one’s self esteem, specifically to trigger confidence or anxiety depending on the way in which it is presented. I think most people would probably say though that yellow is a cheerful colour that lifts the spirits on a dull day in the garden. It’s not called ‘mellow yellow’ for nothing!
Probably the most famous (as its yellow trumpets certainly epitomise spring for many people) not to mention widespread flower of this colour, Narcissus is a hardy perennial endemic to Asia, North Africa and Europe. It is also one of the most varied species in that, while the numbers of its wild and natural cultivars are slowly becoming more refined, its popularity leads specialists to cultivate and breed new varieties nearly every year. Sufficed it to say, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more accommodating bloom due to the constant tweaking that has prepared this plant for the many environments it must inhabit.
Named for their discoverer William Forsyth (not to be confused with the writer Forsythe!) this deciduous shrub will regularly grow to heights of three metres and has ovate, green foliage, complemented by the iron grey bark that coats the limbs and branches. In early spring, they produce masses of small flowering blooms similar in shape to the trumpet lily, succeeded by dry, wing shaped seed pods that have been claimed to contain lactose however this is yet to be confirmed. Due to its height, best effect is generally achieved by wall planting, thus providing its upright habit with the support needed to show off the stunning flower display.
Otherwise known as the ‘Flannel Bush’ and so named for the densely arranged stellate hairs that adorn its leathery leaves, Fremontedendron is endemic to North America and New Mexico and, as such, favour warmth and plenty of sun. They are a short lived species and so may not reach their potential height of 5-7ms, however, the upshot of this is that they flower very young, grow prevalently and can be trained against a wall to take advantage of these facts. In poor soil and full sun they will show vibrant blossoms eight centimetres across and attractive green foliage moving into brown with age. Just be careful when you’re working near it though, as the tiny hairs on the leaves are easily brushed off and can be very irritating to the skin and eyes!
This easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial has much in common with the garden daisy, particularly in the shape of its inflorescence with prominent yellow florets arranged in a cone shaped fashion, as the petals tend to face downward once the flower head blooms. These are a native species of North America and are favoured for their bright flowers late in the season. There are varieties to grow at the front of the border right through to the back, ranging from heights of 60cms to 2ms tall. They will grow in most soils and are also good for cutting to take indoors, the blooms lasting well in water.
‘St. John’s Wort’, as it is otherwise known, depending where you are in the world, can vary between the habits of a creeping groundcover plant to a sizeable shrub. Hypericum is a ‘grow-anywhere’ type of plant and one of the most widely distributed cultivars on earth. As such, is particularly easy to cultivate, as the variation in conditions it will tolerate is vast, in fact the only common denominators between the whole species is the willingness to flower, and the colour of those flowers, producing bowls of bright golden petals over a long flowering season.