|Cool Yellow: A Whole New Color
Before I started gardening with my next-door neighbor Pearl Russell, I disliked yellow flowers. In fact I didn't like orange or scarlet either any warm hue. But Pearl loves yellow. (Her house is painted yellow.) And so I started noticing it, thinking "Pearl would like that plant" or, "Could I find a place for that in the border between our gardens?"
Pearl's favorite is a bright, sunny tone. But now that I was paying better attention, I started to notice how versatile yellow can be. I had thought of it as harsh, glaring; but now I found soft, gentle yellows, like the flowers of the original Primrose, Primula vulgaris. Sometimes yellow's not even a very warm color as the names of 'Moonbeam' coreopsis and 'Moonlight' nasturtium demonstrate.
Such a romantic color, and I'd never even noticed it before. Now, suddenly, I fell in love with it.
I planted Scabiosa columbaria ochroleuca, several anthemis, 'Virtue' daylily, a perennial snapdragon and two kinds of perennial foxglove. Also 'Prism Sunshine' Petunia: I've since read descriptions that say its flowers start out bright yellow, but if so they must fade pretty fast, because I enjoyed mounds of big blooms of that lovely soft yellow, with just a little deeper color in the throats. I was delighted when my brother-in-law gave me some Yellow Waxbells. My daughter Wendy gave me a gift certificate to a nursery that listed Nepeta govaniana (catmint not catnip) in its catalog but by the time I got there, they no longer carried it.
Yarrow seed mixes gave me plants of this color among others: long-lasting, lacy blooms great for picking. I found several other creamy-yellow yarrows too including the creeping 'King Edward' but the popular 'Moonshine' to my eye is way too bright for that name.
My wish list grows. Several Kniphofias belie their common name "Red-hot Poker" with cool yellow coloring, including one called 'Candlelight.' Peonies? There's 'Border Charm' and 'Prairie Moon' but I covet Paeonia mlokosewitschii (Molly-the-witch).
Ranunculus 'Double Mud' and 'Double Cream' attract me also with the flattened but very double rosette shape of their flowers. When I read they need moist soil, I sighed in resignation ... but then found out they only really need dependable moisture in spring. Drought is no problem later when they're dormant.
How can I have been blind to this lovely color? My garden keeps showing me how capriciously my mind works.