On Gardening: Let the color yellow bring happiness, excitement to your garden


If there were a color that represents happiness in the garden, it would have to be yellow. One of the three primary colors, it has the power to evoke hope and excitement. When the forsythia breaks forth in the early spring, it not only catches your eye, it invigorates your step. Winter is over and a new season has been born.

On the other hand, there is a reason the school bus is yellow, a motive behind so many highway signs with a yellow background. You notice, you pay attention. Yellow is from the hot side of the wheel and offers warmth like the brilliant sun. A pocket of yellow flowers at your entrance will give a warm welcome to your visitors.

The Garden Guy has flanking containers at the entryway, and Lemon Coral sedum is blooming, causing everyone to notice. It is in a triadic harmony, three colors of equal distance on the color wheel, with Superbells Grape Punch and Pomegranate Punch calibrachoas.

Like the caution sign on the road, if you use yellow near what you might consider a blemish or weakness in the landscape, then everyone’s eye will be drawn there. On a bigger scale, yellow flowers come to you in the garden, therefore having the ability to make a large landscape seem cozier.

In yellow, you can really play with the mind with your amount of color saturation. For instance, the more saturated the yellows, the warmer the feel. My wife, Jan, told me the other day, “I just love that little yellow.” She was referring to Superbells Yellow calibrachoa. It doesn’t have the fancy name of some of its siblings, but it has that ability to cause you to look, noticing its companions last.

I was looking at Dr. Alan Armitage’s mobile app, Armitage’s Great Garden Plants. When it came to calibrachoas, he said an absolute favorite is the Superbells Lemon Slice. This white calibrachoa with bright yellow lemony slices creates partnerships that literally dazzle.

Conversely, yellow pastels like the Luscious Royale Pina Colada lantana, though cheerful, buffer the intense summer heat. The award-winning lantana features pastel yellow and white in compact habit yet brings in pollinators equal with its larger counterparts.

The shade garden that seems to go unnoticed can be given a new vibrant definition with hostas. The Garden Guy is getting to experience hostas for the first time and I’m like a kid in the candy store. This year I am adding several Shadowland Autumn Frost. This award-winner has blue leaves with wide yellow margins. In another part of the shade garden, I have Shadowland Etched Glass, with green and an even brighter yellow intermingled with blue hydrangeas.

Deeper darker yellows are found slightly to the left or warmer side of yellow. This seems to be where the real troopers for summerlong color are found, plants like the new Luscious Goldengate lantana, and Luscious Bananarama.

Yellow’s complementary color is violet or purple. When you partner the color of royalty with the radiant and gleaming yellow, a pageantry manifests itself in the garden. Try Angelface angelonias or summer snapdragons, Supertunia Royal Velvet petunias, Superbena Violet Ice or Dark Blue verbenas. Don’t forget that yellow works exceedingly well with its neighbors, orange and red.

The perfect prescription for a case of spring fever is to limit your news, and plant a healthy dose of yellow in your garden. Do it as soon as your frost-free date has passed. This means some of you are a little late, but I assure you the garden center has just what you need.

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