Garden Photo of the Day

Kathleen’s Favorite Gold Plants

Going for the gold!

hop vine

My name is Kathleen Shelman, and I have been gardening for more than 30 years on an acre outside of Portland, Oregon. We are in the foothills of the Cascades, so we get quite a bit of rain, which makes for many gray days. Also, many of the trees I planted years ago have (surprise) become quite large, and I find myself with more shade. Because of this, I have found myself adding more and more golden shrubs to the garden, to the point where I need to remind myself that green and its many variations are also foliage colors. Here are a few of my favorites that keep their gold color all summer.

hydrangea with bright green foliageHydrangea serrata ‘Golden Sunlight’ (‘Golden Sunlight’ mountain hydrangea, Zones 6–9)

ornamental grass with bright green bladesHakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ (‘All Gold’ hakone grass, Zones 5–9) reflects on the Disporum longistylum ‘Night Heron’ (‘Night Heron’ Chinese fairy bells, Zones 5–9).

hop vineHumulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (hop vine, Zones 3–8) is bright and beautiful but must be watched, as it can spread quickly.

Monlo ninebarkPhysocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’ (‘Monlo’ ninebark, Zones 2–8) makes a bright mass against the yew hedge.

Japanese spirea and red osier dogwoodTwo common but useful shrubs, Spiraea japonica ‘Double Play’ (Japanese spirea, Zones 3–8) and Cornus sericea ‘Silver and Gold’ (variegated red osier dogwood, Zones 3–8), brighten a dark corner.

shrubs next to a narrow coniferSambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’ (red elderberry, Zones 3–7) grows beneath a Rosa glauca (redleaf rose, Zones 2–8) to prevent afternoon burn.

dwarf yellow barberryBerberis thunbergii ‘Aurea nana’ (dwarf yellow barberry, Zones 4–8) always looks fresh.

dogwoods with bright green foliageCornus alba ‘Gouchalti’ (variegated tatarian dogwood, Zones 3–7) grows beneath Cornus mas (cornelian cherry dogwood, Zones 4–8).

Little honey oakleaf hydrangeaHydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’ (‘Little Honey’ oakleaf hydrangea, Zones 5–9) likes only morning sun.

Sundance Mexican orangeChoisya ternata ‘Sundance’ (‘Sundance’ Mexican orange, Zones 7–10) in front of Ribes sanguineum ‘Brocklebankii’ (‘Brocklebankii’ flowering currant, Zones 5–7).


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    user-7007816 06/23/2021

    What a wonderful collection of gold-leaved plants you have assembled. They really brighten up shaded areas. I particularly liked Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Little Honey’.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 06/23/2021

    I have Little Honey too but mine doesn't look as good as yours. Love all your yellows & how they brighten things up.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 06/23/2021

    Pretty garden and great choices of bright golds and greens!
    You are so right about how they brighten shady spots in the garden!
    Love what you did!

  4. btucker9675 06/23/2021

    Beautiful use of the yellows, greens, variegations and great mix of shapes and textures. Really a lovely garden.

  5. mikefraser 10/13/2021

    I have been adding golden shrubs for the past year because my green trees are getting bigger and casting more shade in my garden. My problem is that they don't do well when there's not much light, which makes them look sad all winter long, even though they are still
    -Hedge Trimming

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