21 Feb 2015

Yellow Suburban Annunciation''

 'Remember the afternoon's yellow suburban annunciation. Your
goalie in his frightening mask dreams perhaps of

Canadian poet and author Michael Ondaatje quotes the above stanza in his poem 'To A Sad Daughter,' one that I studied in Uni English with the late Professor Constance Rooke. Both professor and poem have left a lasting impression on me. Yellow is not a colour that I am fond of. Or wasn't fond of until my garden steered me away from such blasphemous thinking!

In the sweltering Summer months I will do just about anything to escape from the sweltering heat of the sun, that giant yellow orb that casts it's rays down upon me, burning my skin to a bright crimson within minutes. And then in the Winter months I bemoan its disappearance, an absence felt all the more acutely with the presence of SAD. MY diva like dichotomies leave me askance! 

Yellow is the colour I most associate with Spring! My old fashioned Primula veris are one of the first flowers to bloom, and their getle whipped buttery yellow presence never fails to bring a smile to my face! My garden started off with a minimum of yellow - the diminutive Iris reticulata with their golden crests, a majestic towering Aconitum species with a yellowish-apple green flower that looks more like a smurf cap than the helmet shaped blooms of its purple cousins, and the waxy, shuttlecock flowers of Kirengeshoma as pictured below. That was about it.

And then came the comments. 'You don't have very much yellow in the garden do you? Do you not think it would help to brighten up some of these shaded corners? So much blue, but so very little yellow? You're missing out my friend!' Looking back I remember thinking to myself, 'And this is precisely why I do not invite people to my garden!' But then I got to thinking.... and thinking, and then out of nowhere something rather startling began to occur.

I would like to think that it started out softly and subtly, sort of like the soft yellow of my beloved Paeonia x 'Going Bananas' or one of my all time favourite Daniel Hinkley inspired finds - Disporum uniflorum. They definitely do add a pleasant pop of colour to the garden!

 There is a cheerfulness to having pops of yellow scattered here and there. I also enjoy when they act as a cheerful accessory for a plant. There is no denying that I grow Saruma henryi [aside of for its hilarious name!] for its gorgeous felted heart shaped foliage. Its wonderful cheery yellow flowers add a dainty charm, often causing visitors to stop and comment as to its identity. 

Euphorbia is one of my favourite genera. One of my favourite is 'Bonfire' which breaks through the thawed Spring soil as a mass of velvety purplish red foliage. It it ages, it loses some of the rich coloration, but then out of nowhere - bam! Bright, almost screaming yellow 'flowers' appear for weeks on end.

The regal beauty of Cypripedium calceolaris speaks for itself. The winy brownish colour of its sepals when cast against the golden yellow of its delicate pouch is reason for rejoice every time I gaze upon it. I think I am mellowing in my newfound appreciation of yellow!

The most commented upon member of my ever growing Epimedium collection is the one pictured below: Epimedium 'Windfire' - with its canary yellow delicate, airy flowers that are infused with a red marking on the reverse of each bloom. 

 I do not think I could be without this most vibrant of colours here at Teza's Garden. While blue will forever reign supreme, yellow is definitely a necessity in the garden! Lesson learned most pleasantly! How much yellow do you have in your garden?


cheryl said...

Yessssssssssss! Yellow the colour of sunshine flitting through leaves in a shady garden. Love love love this post Barry. I have to think of what I do have other than hosta's and lemon pennywort which I adore. I have it planted around the pond and it frames it wonderfully. Actually I plant it everywhere that needs pop! I love your yellow peony but wonder how much sun it needs. I also planted Korean Wax Bells, thanks to you :) but they haven't bloomed in two years because they tend to be eaten. Autumn past I moved them where they will be more closely tended to. Girl Guides Honour.
A wonderful colourful post on this nasty winter night. Thank you !

Alain said...

I am not sure reading your blog is good for me. I feel like an alcoholic who has found a new bar! What a lovely plant Saruma henryi seems to be. And then there is 'Bonfire' euphorbia. I think "craving" is the sympton I feel while reading your blog - as the dictionary puts it - intense desire for some particular things and feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state

Barry said...

Cheryl: I appreciate your comments. Its funny how we abhor certain colours when we start off gardening, but soon realize that they are essential. In shade there is so much green, and while this isn't at all a bad thing, the eye tends to get lazy. I have only good vibes for your newly transplanted Yellow Wax Bells. One thing I am most grateful for is that I do not have to contend with my treasures being eaten - aside of a few sacrificial Hosta and my slug population! Loved your latest Winter Haiku!

Barry said...

Alain: I sometimes think I should rename my blog 'The Happy Enabler'! I know personally what that 'craving' sensation that you speak of is like. I start with a list of two or three new plants I would like to source out, and end up coming home with a dozen. A postage stamp sized property does not help matters, nor the fact that I manage the perennial department at the nursery where I am employed. Who was it sang the song 'Constant Cravings'?

Saruma is indeed delightful. First spotted it in the display garden of Lost Horizons and have had nothing but success with it ever since. When happy it forms formidable clumps which are then very easy to divide in order to share his heart shaped cheer! Thanks for your continued comments.

Jean Campbell said...

There must be a reason that we are given a whole rainbow of colors, if only to learn to appreciate their beauty.