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The Yellows Are Coming!

July 7, 2011

First flowers open on Hemerocallis 'Happy Returns' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) I know some gardeners are not fond of yellow flowers in the garden. Some find that yellow just does not work well in their garden palette. Others want something more rare and refined in the garden than the yellow color that is common among wildflowers.

I am at the opposite end of the spectrum of attitudes toward yellow in the garden. I am a big fan. Yellow reminds me of sunlight and of the wildflowers I have loved since childhood. Yellow is my favorite color; it just makes me happy.  I also like the look of yellow with almost any other color. Yellows mellow the fiery colors of orange and red, and they make a wonderful contrast with blues and purples. Yellows and whites look crisp and fresh. And the right yellow and the right pink (often a soft yellow and a strong pink) can be delicious together.

So although I enjoy the pretty pinks, blues and lavenders of my garden in June, it is the July garden that excites me. In July, the yellows make a big entrance and then take center stage. Because they add contrast to the soft, pastel palette of June, the yellows make my garden more dynamic.

First flowers of Hemerocallis 'Boothbay Harbor Gold' (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)This week, right on schedule, yellow flowers began to open in my garden. First on the scene were the flowers of the early reblooming daylilies (Hemerocallis), the soft yellow of Happy Returns (above) on the back slope and the brasher tones of Boothbay Harbor Gold (right) in the blue and yellow border. Then the first flowers of Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’ opened, followed a day later by Heliopsis helianthoides (false sunflower). Both of these flowers will continue to bloom until frost.

First flowers on Coreopsis verticillata (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) First flower opening on Heliopsis helianthoides (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Daylily buds that will open, filling the garden with yellow bloom in July (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) In the next week or two, many more yellow flowers will open in my garden. Yellow daylilies are the stars of the garden in July.There are ten different varieties growing in the blue and yellow border alone; and although only Boothbay Harbor Gold has already begun to bloom, all the others are full of fat buds. Yellows will also make a big appearance in the row of orange, red and yellow daylilies that bloom along the front of my property each July. By the end of the month, when many of the yellow daylilies will be winding down, my favorite rudbeckia, the tall lemon yellow ‘Herbstsonne’ will begin to bloom, as will the native goldenrods (Solidago) that grow around the edges of my garden.

Soon these buds will produce a display of yellow, orange and red daylilies (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) First buds of rudbeckia Herbstsonne (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

As June has turned into July and classic summer weather has arrived in Maine, I am looking forward to the warm, sunny days and yellow flowers ahead.

I am linking this post to Hanni’s Hope Grows meme at Sweet Bean Gardening. Go to her blog to find out what other gardeners are hoping for this July. 

39 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 3:02 pm

    Hi Jean, The yellows are all in bloom in my garden as well. I love the color yellow…it gives such warmth and brightens up a cloudy day. Monet had lots of yellow in his gardens and he was an expert on color. I have friends that have nothing but white in their gardens but I love the richness of combined colors.

    • July 10, 2011 12:10 pm

      Karen, I like to mix up colors, too. My circular bed includes pink, blue, white, purple, yellow, gold and orange (although not all blooming at the same time :-)). And it’s so often the unexpected pleasure of some color combinations that provides that element of serendipity in my garden.

  2. July 7, 2011 3:04 pm

    Jean, I like yellow flowers and can’t wait to see them in your garden. Carolyn

    • July 10, 2011 12:12 pm

      Carolyn, I really enjoyed our day together, even if there weren’t all that many yellow flowers in bloom when you were here. I couple more varieties of daylilies opened the next day, and several more have opened today (although most of these are in the red-orange range rather than yellow).

  3. July 7, 2011 3:35 pm

    Your yellows are just beautiful! It’s nice the the colour palette of your garden changes over the summer….I think it’s a lot more interesting that way. My first daylily is open now, and it’s a ‘Stella d’Oro’ and also my primroses, so I have a fix of yellow as well.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your yellows as they come.

  4. July 7, 2011 3:39 pm

    Jean, What a joy to see you link to my Hope Grows Day post. 🙂 The yellows you have in bloom are lovely, and you certainly have many more happy sunny yellows to look forward to!

    • July 10, 2011 12:15 pm

      Diane, I don’t have Stella d’Oro in my garden here, but Boothbay Harbor Gold is a similar color. I never get over the excitement of the daylilies beginning to bloom

      Hanni, Thanks for hosting the meme. I do indeed have many, many more happy sunny yellows to look forward to. Yellows will be a strong presence in my garden from now until frost.

  5. July 7, 2011 4:18 pm

    Hooray for yellow! Melampodium is just cranking up as Black eyed Susans bite the dust. I mediate the yellow rose bed with white perennials and a white crape myrtle. I want them all.

  6. July 7, 2011 4:55 pm

    Yellow Euryops bringing me winter sunshine. And I love your blue and yellow border!

    • July 10, 2011 12:19 pm

      Nell, It’s amazing to think of your rudbeckia winding down as they’re just beginning to open here — a reminder of how varied the growing seasons are on this big continent. I love the yellow and white combinations.

      Diana, I love the idea of those yellow daisies bringing winter sunshine. We do have lots of winter sunshine here, but no yellow flowers to go with it.

  7. July 7, 2011 10:00 pm

    How could anyone have anything against yellow? It just makes me happy.
    I like the “french” inspired blue and yellow border as well. Thanks for commenting on my blog. How are you liking word press?

  8. July 7, 2011 11:43 pm

    I too love yellow. It gives such a happy feeling to a space, and that is what gardening is all about. One big smile.

  9. July 8, 2011 12:50 am

    I am also a big fan, and like you have a steady march from the pinks of spring to the yellows of summer. Lovely pictures! 🙂

    • July 10, 2011 12:26 pm

      Rosey, Donna and Rebecca, It’s nice to know that there are so many fans of yellow out there.

      Rosey, I have used WordPress all along and have been happy with it, but I don’t really have anything to compare it with. I gather from what I’ve read that Blogger offers more flexible formatting capabilities than does WordPress. One of my frustrations with my current format is that I can’t get the font the size I would like (a little bigger, but not more bold). I’m about to buy into WordPress’s $30 a year custom design option to give me more control over formatting.

      Donna, smiling as I read your description :-).

      Rebecca, we really do seem to have a lot of similarities in my gardens. BTW, my very few red flowers (some daylilies) have just started to bloom today.

  10. July 8, 2011 1:25 am

    Beautiful yellows, Jean!

  11. July 8, 2011 7:31 am

    I love yellow in the garden and I have lots of it along with orange, purples, rose colored daylilies and white, To me the yellow is a happy color.


  12. July 8, 2011 8:40 am

    When I was a kid I absolutely hated the color yellow – I have no idea what I was thinking because it’s now one of my favorites as well. Yellow Day Lilies are the first thing people see when they come into our house now. 🙂

    • July 10, 2011 12:50 pm

      Thanks, Grace!

      Eileen, I don’t have as many hot color combinations in my garden as I would like. When I create a new front garden in a few years, I’m hoping to have one flower bed devoted to hot color combinations (especially more orange!).

      Brandi, what would a Maine garden in July be without yellow daylilies? My display of yellow, orange and red daylilies along the approach to the house is just starting to bloom. I have to be sure to have lots of company in the next couple of weeks so that people can enjoy it. 🙂

  13. July 8, 2011 9:52 am

    I too just love yellow. When I saw your coreopsis I thought ‘that’s what I’m missing!’ I tried to grow this plant once in a shaded garden to very poor results. Now that I have sun I should go out and find this plant.

    • July 10, 2011 12:54 pm

      Marguerite, I love that threadleaf coreopsis. The one I have blooming now (which I think is ‘Golden Showers’, similar to Zagreb but taller) is one of those plants I bought a 4″ pot of before I had any idea what I was doing and the clump doubled in size every year and I divided it repeatedly. Now I have this flower growing in 4 different flower beds. I also have the more refined Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam,’ but it tends to be very short lived in my garden, doing well in the first and second years, barely making it in the third year and not coming back in the fourth year. I haven’t grown Coreopsis grandiflora yet, but it’s another wish-list plant for the new front garden of the future.

  14. July 8, 2011 3:50 pm

    You gave some good reasons for loving yellow. May you have sunshine and happiness!

  15. July 8, 2011 5:07 pm

    I wondered when I read your title if we’d be seeing your lovely daylilies. I still remember the gorgeous displays from last year. Boothbay Harbor Gold is a new one for me, I love the rich yellow color. It’s funny though, I used to loathe yellow in the garden. My palette was always shades of pink and white. Now I don’t know how on earth I survived without yellow flowers, especially as so many of our native blooms are that color. It’s interesting how our gardening tastes can change over time.

    • July 10, 2011 1:01 pm

      Deb, I do have a big collection of much-loved yellow flowers.

      Clare, I did that post with all the daylilies for bloom day in July last year; but we had an unusually early spring last year, and bloom times on most plants are a week or two later this year. I just checked my records and on this weekend last year, I had 9 different daylilies in bloom in the blue and yellow border; today I have only 2, and one of those is just starting to open its first flower. Boothbay Harbor Gold was developed and registered with the American Hemerocallis Society by a local daylily breeder, Don Celler, whom I used to buy a lot of daylilies from before he retired, closed his nursery and moved to the coast (at Boothbay Harbor!).

  16. July 8, 2011 7:29 pm

    Although yellow isn’t my favorite color, I have a couple of color schemes where it works well and adds so much life to the garden. It is hard to fit yellow into the classic blue-violet, white, mauve and crimson color scheme, I think. I bought a soft yellow ‘Siloam Amazing Grace’ daylily last year and am excited to see the first blooms in a few weeks.

  17. July 8, 2011 10:53 pm

    Haha, I like yellow too, its freaking orange that the limit in garishness for me 🙂

    • July 10, 2011 1:10 pm

      VW, I think you are right that your color scheme would require a very soft yellow. The one flower bed in which I have no yellow flowers is the deck border, which is all done in shades of pink, lavender and white. I used to have a Ligularia ‘The Rocket’ in there; but the plant wasn’t doing very well and those bright yellow spikes just looked out of place, so I yanked it out this spring.

      Jess, I actually like orange, too — but I had a yellow flower bloom this week that even I would describe as garish. It was sold to me as ‘Barth large gold’ and I think it was a seedling from the Barth daylily breeding program that Nick Barth decided not to pursue. Many northeast gardeners will be familiar with the Barths’ very popular ‘Sparkling Orange.’ This flower seems to have some genes in common with Sparkling Orange; it has that same diamond-dusted sparkly effect. But its color is somewhere between neon and day-glo. Honestly, you have to wear sunglasses just to look at it! (I’m keeping it, though; it’s a big splash of color in a place where not much else is going on right now, and it makes me laugh.)

  18. July 9, 2011 1:07 am

    aloha jean,

    thank you for checking out my travel journal, it was fun to do and i’m working on the next segment to Morrocco.

    i agree with you on yellow, its a favorite color of mine in the garden and is a wonderful complement to many other flower colors in the garden, your july blooms look great btw!


  19. July 9, 2011 1:25 am

    I like how changes in color can mark the seasons. Here, our late winters and springs buzz with bees, and the yellow flowers that they visit come out in abundance. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of everything blooming is yellow during that season. Enjoy your yellows of summer!

    • July 11, 2011 10:00 pm

      Noel, I’ll look forward to the Morocco segment of your trip! I can see how yellow would be very at home with all those hot, loud and proud colors in your garden palette.

      James, I like the association of colors with seasons, too — and it’s interesting that which colors go with which seasons varies so much by region. There are some yellows in early spring here — daffodils and forsythia, for example — but spring mostly tends toward pastels (all those pink flowering trees and the soft colors of lilacs).

  20. July 9, 2011 2:20 pm

    Jean, your photographs are stunning and the Booth Bay Harbor is a gem. My husband loves yellow and I don’t…. and it’s because it really doesn’t go with my palette. Or, it didn’t. I have been slowly integrating yellow, peach and orange into some of the beds. In the meantime, we had planted him his very own bed for yellows and oranges… he would love yours!

    • July 11, 2011 10:06 pm

      Cathy, Boothbay Harbor Gold is a very nice daylily. I have never seen it available anywhere except at the nursery (no longer in existence) of Don Celler, who bred this particular variety; so I consider myself very lucky to have it.

      I totally understand about the very different color palettes of different individuals in a family. My older sister and I share a funny story about the time (when we were teens) that my father offered to paint our shared bedroom; all we had to do was agree on a color. Well, she wanted to redo the room in pinks and lavenders and I wanted to do it in yellows and oranges — and we could not find any common ground! The room went unpainted until the year we both got married and moved out of our parents’ house and my younger brother moved into that bedroom and painted it red. 🙂 BTW, 50 years later, I still love yellow, and my sister just painted her living room pink with rose-pink trim.

  21. July 9, 2011 5:16 pm

    Jean, I agree that yellow is wonderful happy colour for summer – and thanks for reminding me about ‘Herbstsonne’, which we used to grow. Just remembering all those tall lemony flowers made me smile.

    • July 11, 2011 10:09 pm

      Jill, I love Herbstsonne. It grows very happily in my garden, blooms profusely from July until the first killing frost, and provides great cut flowers for the house. And I love those green eyes.

  22. July 10, 2011 12:18 pm

    I love yellow flowers – they remind me of happiness and friendship – in fact I think yellow roses symbolize friendship. Truth be told, I think every color of flower has its merit and a garden full of blooms like yours is truly beautiful.

  23. July 10, 2011 8:17 pm

    Jean a summer garden truly would be missing something if not for the yellow flowers…I love all the yellows you have here and have many in my yard and meadow too…I agree they are great with purples and pinks and oranges…all your yellows indeed are happy sunny faces in your wonderful garden!!

    • July 11, 2011 10:21 pm

      Byddi and Donna, I can see that we are all lovers of yellow here.

      Byddi, I didn’t know about the association with friendship.

      Donna, Just today, I have four varieties of orange, yellow and red daylilies blooming along the front of my property. I hope to add more orange to my garden in the future.

  24. July 11, 2011 6:32 pm

    I had a nice combination up to last week consisting of pink evening primroses, spikes of pink turning to reddish, Persicaria affine “Superbum” and the sublime soft pink, Astrantia maxima (probably summers to hot for it in North America). Then along came the yellow of Centaurea macrocephala to spoil the picture, but the soft yellow flowers of Leucanthemum “Broadway lights” opened up a few days later, which seemed to balance things back again. We should not be be to doctrinaire about colours in gardening – plenty of opportunities for that in other walks of life.

    • July 11, 2011 10:24 pm

      John, Thanks for visiting. I agree with Byddi that all colors are beautiful — but I think most of us just have more affinity for some than for others. It’s good to remember that, even when a color scheme may seem out of whack at one point, some other flower will soon open and change the whole composition.

  25. July 12, 2011 9:03 am

    I love the Rudbeckias as well. Have you tried R. maxima, which has great silver-blue foliage as well? (I love all really tall plants.) And I can’t do without Solidago “firecracker”. But yellow daylilies often annoy me, although I love them in orange. Funny . . . .

    I find yellow in the house tricky too. I think it’s wonderful in accent pieces, but terrible as a wall color. Our new house had a yellow living room, and I could not paint it blue-grey fast enough. (Although once upon a time in Morocco, the US Amb.’s house had a taxi cab yellow dining room, which, at night by candlelight, was one of the loveliest rooms I’ve ever seen.)

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