Yellow Makes Me Happy

By Bonnie Grant | April 5, 2021
by Bonnie Grant
April 5, 2021

I have always loved the color yellow. When I was younger I would wear it often, until one day it occurred to me that it washed me out and made me look sallow. Since I can’t wear my favorite color, I love to have plenty of it in the garden. Yellow plants feature prominently in my landscape — not only flowers but also foliage plants. I love how yellow sets off other colors and creates a bright foil for other plants. 

Growing Sunflowers

My mate knows I love sunflowers. So every year he saves the heads and plants a new crop. The towering, golden flower heads remind me of the smiley face buttons from the 70s. They are just irresistibly cheery and never fail to brighten my heart. We will have a sea of them at the borders of the dirt farm, but it doesn’t stop there. He also peppers my ornamental beds with the brilliant blooms. The happy tones also attract wildlife and pollinators. These bright flowers also grow wild here in grain country. Our off road explorations will find us happening upon large stands of the flowers which I gather with glee to place in vases indoors. Growing sunflowers is an annual ritual that makes us cheerful. 

More Yellow in the Garden

Sunflowers aren’t the only yellow plants that decorate my gardens. I have a golden smokebush that is a delight every year. It has yellow leaves but also produces the characteristic puffs of blooms in summer. Marigolds are a must have in the vegetable garden. They will ward off insect pests and produce volunteer seed for next year’s crop. So too, will the Calendula, a relative of marigolds. The insecticide properties may even be harvested and used in a spray. Other yellow favorites are a Golden Chain tree, daffodils, daylily, iris, mums, and more. The first sign of spring is the glorious Forsythia, a golden beauty that signifies spring. 

The warmth of yellow plants seems to signify the heat of the sun. I have plans for more, and one is going to provide golden tones in winter. The yellow twig dogwood is going to be a living fence out front of the house. The delicate leaves are lovely in spring and summer, but the plant drops its foliage in fall. This is happy news however, as the deciduous nature reveals bright yellow stems. My baby witch hazel should hopefully be blooming soon. It will be filled with  softly toned yellow bracts. 

Growing sunflowers isn’t the only way I keep my favorite color alive in the landscape. Other plants have variegated leaves decorated with gold. Coleus are one of my favorites and come in a variety of painted leaf combinations, many companioned with yellow. Sweet potato vines are annuals here but still feature prominently in my hanging planters. There are numerous golden ornamental grasses on one side of the house, many of which retain their yellow leaves in winter. 

Bringing your favorite color into the home landscape is fairly easy these days. There are tons of cultivars of standard plants as well as hybrids that harvest different traits. Almost any color can be hosted in the garden, with the exception of true black, although there are a few plants in that hue. I am always happy to view my yellow plants, a landscape of optimistic flowers and foliage. 

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