The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond


Wordless Wednesday: Summer Go-Togethers


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Feeling Smart, Curious and Happy? Plant Something Yellow

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Clusters of small yellow Mecardonia hybrid get along well with everyone in this bright blue container. From the mid-tone purple of the angelonia to the deep pink petunias to the grayish creeping wire vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris)

Upbeat, optimistic and friendly, yellow flowers cheer a garden like no other.

Purple and pink dominated the garden a few weeks ago, but now the sunny yellows are popping out and in doing so providing a more uplifting feel to the garden altogether. Yellow is a primary color and sits at the light end of the color spectrum. It’s loaded with energy, and placed in the garden can perk up a combination of plants or absolutely shimmer in the sun. It is clearly a color that says, “Notice me!” And in doing so, causes your eye to slow down, rest and take in its warmth. But too much of it can be irritating, too. Some say that’s due to its high energy value. Introducing other colors, such as green (perfect!) help calm yellow.

Sizzling in the sun, a nice color combination of yellow coreopsis and orange butterfly milkweed.

Shimmering in the sun, the yellow coreopsis and orange butterfly milkweed make a hot combination.

juniper (768x1024)This is a color that knows how to network, going beautifully with several shades of purple, pink, green, blue and and even gray. I have found it to be a wonderful transitional color that is at ease at moving between dark and light hues. I have shots of yellow throughout my gardens. For example, a small citron green juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) at the base of the garden bed that wraps around my family room provides a transition from one side of the bed to the other. Certainly placement is important here but so is its lemon-lime color mix. This shrub is small and a slow grower, but it is mighty in its impact. Standing tall next to it are white Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum superbum) with their sunny yellow eyes and Stella de Oro daylily on its other side. Things cool off, though, with a whispery stand of Russian sage (Perovskia).

The sunny yellow eyes of "Amelia" Shasta daisy mix well with the soft tones of Russian sage.

A pretty combination of sunny “Amelia” Shasta daisy, a rugged sun lover and Russian sage.

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Yellow coreopsis perk up the blue dwarf blue spruce and deep tones of penstemon. It also complements the pink bloom on the yarrow in front.

DSCN1931 (1024x768)Yellow has a high reflectance value. It is the most visible color on the spectrum and that’s most likely why school buses are yellow, as often are school crossing lines on the pavement. It is the color of hazard signs as well. But too much of it can be irritating, too. Some say that’s due to its high energy value. Introducing other colors, such as green (perfect!) help calm yellow. If you’re into the meaning of color, yellow has lots going for it. It’s naturally associated with happiness, creativity, communication and energy. It’s also associate with analytical thinking, inquisitiveness and original thought. On the down side, deceitful, laziness, and cowardice are often used in the same sentence with yellow, as in “He’s nothin’ but a yellow-bellied, no-good, lazy coward!”

What do you think of the color yellow?


Spotlight on Coreopsis

If you’re looking for a yellow boost to the garden, coreopsis is a great plant. I have two types of coreopsis in my yard, but quite honestly, I am a bit confused about this plant and its names. Researching this sunny plant, I thought tickseed was a type but I think that’s just a common name. So where words fail me, pictures will do the talking.

This variety of coreopsis blooms all summer but requires a bit of maintenance trimming off the spent blooms.

This type of coreopsis blooms all summer but requires frequent trimming of the spent blooms.

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This carefree coreopsis blooms all summer and grows the size of a small shrub.

I have been referring to the mounding, shrub-like plant as moonbeam (c. verticallata) and the other as tickseed (c. auriculata). Can anybody out there in gardenland provide clarity?

What I do know for certain is that one is carefee, the other not as much. Starting in June, the moonbeam blooms begin to burst forth atop its fine foliage. This mounding plant and can be as large as a small shrub. In the fall, I take my hedge shears and cut it all the way back. Give it a sunny spot and it will bloom nearly all summer. Bonus: it’s drought tolerant.

On the other hand, I keep handy my pruners and am continuously cleaning up the other type that I have referred to as tickseed coreopsis. This guy has sunny yellow flowers at the end of tall, thin stems. The leaves are more spear shaped. The blooms, although relatively short lived, add a nice brightness to the bed. I planted this variety because I wanted something that I could cut and add to vases all summer long. And it has not disappointed.

Both are easily adapted to the garden and I have divided them without any problems. The moonbeam truly wants full sun, up to six hours a day. One of my divisions has been a bit slow to take off and I think it’s because it does not get enough sun.