Yellow In The Garden: It Started With A Yellow Dahlia Flower

By Nikki Tilley | June 28, 2021
Image by LianeM
by Nikki Tilley
June 28, 2021

It’s funny that as a gardener yellow isn’t normally my first choice for color. I’m more inclined to include bicolor shades of green and purple to nearly black in my garden’s color palette. That’s not to say I don’t grow other colors. In fact, I do — many of them. Yellow just isn’t my top choice. Or at least it wasn’t until I came to appreciate its ability to make my other plants pop, especially those darker shades I like so much. 

It Started with a Yellow Dahlia Flower

One specific plant that I’ve come to admire for its lovely shade of yellow is a dahlia. This bright yellow dahlia graces my garden without fail every year, amazingly with little help from me. I don’t dig it up and store it over winter. I live in zone 7b, which means leaving it in the ground is risky but doable – if you’re brave enough. I am.

I didn’t exactly choose this yellow dahlia flower. It kinda chose me. You see, I’d ordered something completely different. I was expecting this flower to be an unusual bicolor shade in a blend of mauve, cream and soft yellow. Instead, I was welcomed that first summer with yellow blooms. As disappointing as this was, the cheery yellow flowers did eventually grow on me. Now they’re one of my favorites. I’m not quite sure why I’d been hesitant to include more of this color in the garden before. It’s like having tufts of sun here and there.

Since then, I’ve come to admire hints of yellow in the garden, although I still prefer something unusual to them, like yellow spider daylilies chosen for their interesting petals. And most of my yellows are bicolor, blushed with pink or purple. I do have a giant pale yellow oriental lily plant. There’s also an abundance of sunflowers, in different shades of course. I don’t mind the golden yellow rudbeckia or the dazzling yellow blooms of marigolds, zinnias, lilies and coreopsis. Early spring is the most welcoming time for yellow – my forsythia stands out from the bleak landscape. Dandelions dance across the lawn and garden. Pops of yellow daffodil fill the beds.

Yellow may not be my first choice for adding color in the garden, but I’ve certainly become more aware of its presence and appeal. I don’t think I ever really took notice before that yellow dahlia flower took center stage, but now I’m open to adding more yellow in the garden.

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