Friday, April 7, 2017

This Month In the Garden: Three Seasons of Yellow

Yellow Blooms in the Garden
A cheerful indicator that spring has arrived, yellow blooms in the garden create a positive effect and bring warmth to the landscape, especially at the end of a cold and dreary winter. Continuing after spring, yellow continues in the landscape in the form of summer and fall blooming perennials, and can even be continued into the winter months in the form of golden hued evergreen shrubs. Groupings of yellow blooms tend to brighten and enlarge the garden, especially when the area is small or shaded, and the warmth of yellow is easily complemented by cooler hues of purples and blues. 
One of the first signs that spring has arrived is the sighting of yellow crocus peeking out through the winter's snow. Hardy in zones 3-8, there are over 80 known species of crocus in a variety of colors ranging from yellow to purple, white and variegated forms. While providing late winter-early spring interest, Crocus bulbs tend to naturalize for an even larger and more beautiful display year after year.
Plant crocus in mid-fall (generally November when soil temperatures are below 60 degrees) in a sunny location with moderate watering and a well-drained soil. They thrive in a variety of soils, but do best in a soil with a pH of 6-7 (slightly acidic). If squirrels are a problem, cover your planting bed with a thin layer of wire mesh to ensure their survival. When the flowers are spent, allow the foliage to die back naturally so that the bulbs can produce food for the following year.
Miniature Daffodils
The next blooms to emerge in early spring are the Daffodils. Daffodils require full sun to partial shade and are hardy in USDA zones 3-8. They are an easy perennial to grow in most areas of North America, with the exception of Southern Florida. Their attractive flowers usually bear showy yellow or white flowers with six petals and a trumpet-shape central corona. Daffodils are perfect for planting between shrubs or in a perennial border and look wonderful naturalized in a woodland garden. The same planting guide applies for Daffodils as for crocus. Daffodils are both deer resistant and rodent proof, as these animals do not like the taste of bulbs in the Narcissus family.
Miniature Daffodils
Tulips are available in a multitude of colors and start to appear once spring is underway. Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, height and bloom time depends on variety. Yellow Tulip 'Big Smile' is a later blooming species with very attractive, large sunshine yellow blooms on 20-26 inch stems in May. Tulips should be planted in fall and prefer a location with full to partial sun and a well-drained soil with moderate watering. Bulbs can be protected from rodents with a thin layer of wire mesh as with crocus.
Tulip 'Big Smile'
Blooming in late May into early June is Hybrid Paeonia, Itoh 'Bartella'. 'Bartella' exhibits the large double blooms of tree peony, but has a similar growing habit to that of herbaceous forms. Once established, Itoh Peonies have an extended blooming period, with as many as 50 blooms in a single season due to their ability to produce primary and secondary buds.
Itoh Peony 'Bartella'
Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and is a herbaceous 24-36" tall by wide perennial. Peony prefers full sun to partial shade and requires a moderately moist soil with good drainage. Plant Peony slightly above grade and mulch around the plant to protect the root area. After flowering, lacy green shrub-like foliage remains attractive through fall. Slightly fragrant blooms are deer resistant, bee friendly and excellent in cut flower arrangements.  Itoh Peony 'Bartella' is a true beauty in the landscape.
Hemerocallis 'Stella D Oro'
June blooming 'Stella D' Oro' Daylily brings in summer with continuous bright yellow blooms from late spring until frost. This is by far the most popular Daylily selection of all time, performing well in zones 4-11, and flowering for months on end. 'Stella D Oro' forms a dense clump of grassy green foliage, with upright stems of fragrant, golden yellow trumpet flowers on 24-30 inch stems. 
Hemerocallis 'Stella D' Oro'
Plant Daylily in an area receiving full sun to partial shade in a well-drained soil with moderate watering. Deadheading spent blooms will increase bloom time well into autumn.
Threadleaf Coreopsis 'Zagreb'
Threadleaf Coreopsis 'Zagreb' forms a 12-18 inch tall by wide spreading clump of delicate, ferny foliage, with an abundance of bright, golden yellow daisies from early summer into the fall. Tolerant of hot, dry sites once established, Coreopsis 'Zagreb' is hardy in USDA zones 3-9 and requires full sun and a well-drained soil. Coreopsis is deer resistant and drought tolerant once established. Clipping off faded flowers will encourage buds to form all season. 
Oriental Lilly
Asiatic Lilies, hardy in USDA zones 4-9, are easy, dependable perennials that put on a colorful show in early summer. Asiatic lilies grow on 2-3 foot tall straight stems and show exhibit multiple brightly colored blooms ranging from yellow, white and pink pastels to fiery reds and oranges. Asiatic Lilies prefer to be grown in a sunny location with a well-drained soil.

 Agastache 'Kudos Yellow' 
Agastache 'Kudos Yellow', or Dwarf Hummingbird Mint, exhibits multiple yellow flowers on a compact 24-26 inch tall by wide plant. 'Kudos Yellow' is hardy to Zone 5 and is naturally resistant to downy mildew. Agastache requires full sun and a well-drained fertile soil with excellent drainage to overwinter. Agastache is drought tolerant once established, produces abundant blooms from June through August, and attracts hummingbirds.
Rudbeckia 'Goldstrum' (Black Eyed Susan)
Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) displays golden yellow daisy-like blooms with brown centers, on 2-3 foot high plants. Blooms start in late summer and continue well into October in many regions. A terrific choice for mass planting, removing faded flowers regularly will greatly increase the blooming time. Seed heads left on plants provide winter interest and are a food source for over-wintering birds. Rudbeckia is hardy in USDA zones 3-9, requires full sun to partial shade and has low water needs once established.
Solidago 'Golden Fleece' (Goldenrod)
Solidago 'Golden Fleece' (Goldenrod) displays sprays of golden-yellow flowers late summer into fall. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, Solidago prefers full sun to partial shade and moderate watering. Plants exhibit a clump forming habit and grow to a height and width of 18-24 inches. Solidago naturalizes beautifully as an edging in a perennial border and brings color to the autumn landscape. 
Yellow Blooms for the Garden
Yellow blooms can be a prominent feature in the landscape over three of the four seasons in colder climates and all year long in warmer areas. In colder climates, golden evergreen shrubs can take over to add structure and some golden hues to the landscape, while February-March blooming shrubs such as Witch Hazel can also add yellow to a winter setting. Whatever the season, the color yellow will add warmth and brightness to just about any garden.

Gardening season is here! Have you had a chance to check out my two books? If not, you can see my author page with links to previews of both books here. The first, A Guide to Northeastern Gardeningfocuses on specific types of gardens with plant recommendations and maintenance tips to keep your garden looking its best. The second book, Landscape Design Combinationsgoes into greater detail teaching the concepts of design, while offering a multitude of garden plans with numbering and detailed descriptions of each plant suggested. Be sure to check them out, and I hope to inspire you as you venture out into your garden!

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved


  1. Yellow truly is the most cheerful of garden colors. Yellow flowers are generally my favorite, especially roses. And daffodils!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed all the yellow blooms Robin. It is such a happy and vibrant color in the garden!

  2. Great ideas for sunshiny plantings. The Tulip 'Big Smile' is so lovely.

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post! I just got done admiring your lovely vase of flowers, all so delicate and beautifully arranged!

  3. I love yellow in the garden. It is so refreshing.

    1. I always feels it brightens the garden and it is a cheerful color that goes perfectly with cooler shades of purple and blue.

  4. How gorgeous is YELLOW in the garden! WOW!


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