Garden Photo of the Day

Floral Sunshine From Barb

Best of the yellows

close up of golden ragwort with lots of yellow flowers in bloom

This is Barb Mrgich, Master Gardener from Adams County, Pennsylvania. I have sent in several entries in the past. (Butterflies in Barb’s Garden and Barb’s Favorite Photos ) I love lots of color in my gardens. In January, Joseph did an entry on yellow in the garden, and it inspired me to submit these photos. I really like his description that yellow flowers are “floral sunshine.” A little floral sunshine is never more appreciated than in the very early spring when things are looking rather dull and dreary! Although I like to consider myself a wildlife and native-plant gardener, I still rely on select nonnatives for beauty and color in the early season since I have found that most of my native plants shine better in midsummer and fall. All of these pictures were taken in mid-April in my Zone 6B garden.

If you are interested in adding some bright early accents to your landscape, here are some of my favorites.

close up of golden euonymus shrubThis shrub is golden euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Aureo-marginatus’, Zones 6–9). It likes some shade and is quite drought tolerant. A fast grower, it will reach 5 feet tall if you don’t prune it. Some people sheer this plant into a meatball. I simply take my clippers and cut back some of the taller branches. Golden euonymus will hold its leaves and look like this all summer, fall, and winter. It makes nice additions to indoor and outdoor flower arrangements—even in the winter!

close up of bright green hostaA lovely bright Hosta (Zones 3–9) has leaves edged with green. I have no idea of the exact cultivar, but there are many to choose from. This one is just getting started. It will get much larger and stay bright in its slightly shaded spot all summer.

two chartreuse deutzia shrubsThese small shrubs are Deutzia ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ (Zones 5–8). They do well in partial or full sun. (If in too much shade, they will lose their color.) I have them in front of two dark, red-leaved ninebark ‘Summer Wine’ (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’, Zones 2–8), and I love the combination. ‘Chardonnay Pearls’ blooms in spring. It should be sheered just after it blooms.

bright yellow ground cover next to dark green coniferAngelina sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Zones 5–8) is a bright ground cover that will fill in an area very quickly. It is not at all fussy about anything. It welcomes sun or shade. In the shade it is more green, but still attractive. Drought doesn’t bother it one bit. It is evergreen. It will darken a little in the winter but will still be very much in evidence.

shrubs in early spring with bulbs growing behindWeigela ‘Eye Catcher’ (Zones 5–9) is definitely eye-catching. This one is also just now leafing out. I love its variegated foliage. I like seeing the stand of white daffodils peeking through it.

same shrubs covered in pink flowers in summerThis is what Weigela ‘Eye Catcher’ looks like a little later, when the leaves are fully out and flowers are opening. Spring is definitely its best season. As the summer wears on, it suffers, and the leaves wither some. It definitely needs a little bit of shade. It would probably benefit from more regular irrigation, but I don’t do that. The blue flowers in this picture are ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’, Zones 4–8).

close up of bright yellow tulips with red stripes in a vaseLet’s not forget the tulips! I love these bright yellow tulips with the red stripe. I brought some into the house, and, of course, the warmth encouraged them to open up wide. These tulips originally came from Hershey Gardens, where they give away bulbs to volunteers who are willing to dig them up and carry them away. These are in the group of tulips called Darwin hybrids, which are some of the best for perennializing. These were planted over 20 years ago, and they are still going strong!

close up of golden ragwort with lots of yellow flowers in bloomFinally a native plant! This is golden ragwort (Packera aurea, Zones 3–8). It grows in my rain garden as a ground cover. It starts to bloom in April and continues through the month of May. When it is finished blooming, its nice big, shiny leaves cover the soil and do an excellent job of shading out the weeds.


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  1. nwphilagardener 02/20/2024

    Thanks, Barb for the showcase of chartreuse, yellow, and gold. I've had Deutzia 'Chardonnay Pearls' for many years and I would recommend pruning those in a way which maintains some long branches rather than shearing too tightly. That's because the buds of the creamy white flowers really do recall soft white pearls which look stunning on longer branches loaded with the weight of the flowers. Cutting out a third of the inner branches later in the growing season is a great trick to optimize it's potential form.

    1. [email protected] 02/21/2024

      Wow that is just gorgeous!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/20/2024

    Love your bright colors in the garden.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 02/20/2024

    So cheerful, all of your yellow foliage and flowers!

  4. margotnavarre 02/21/2024

    Love the yellow colors in your garden. Do you use the Hakonechloa macra in your garden? These grasses make great drifts and pair nicely with most plants.

  5. btucker9675 02/21/2024

    Love the combinations in your garden and agree about shearing plants into meatball shapes - always makes me a little sad to see that... Those tulips are fantastic!

    1. [email protected] 02/21/2024

      I also like to contrast the usual green plants with some limey yellows. Rather than euonymus, I like to use a variegated version of eleagnus. It is not as rigid in its structure. I also like to use golden heather and the yellow ceanothus ground cover. They are finicky growers, but when they are happy they really light up their space. Berberis also offers a lime colored version that takes a little less sun than the burgundy colors. I really love your tulips. Very unusual.

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