People are often wary and even snobbish about yellow flowers. Yet from primroses and daffodils heralding spring to heleniums radiating autumn sun, it’s one of the most joyful colours to use in your planting.
And yellow appears to be rising in popularity with designers – it was certainly very present at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Pale yellow Aquilegia chrysantha and lemony lupins alongside soft pinks, created a pastel palette in the Stitchers’ Garden, and there were creamy yellow Iris sibirica ‘Gull’s Wing’ and golden buttercups amongst the green textural foliage in Sarah Eberle’s garden.
If you’re tentative, try hints of this pretty hue amongst green leaves to create a fresh, calm feel. In early summer Tellima grandiflora and Digitalis lutea look great in part-shade planting. For a sunnier spot, Sisyrinchium striatum with its spires of pale yellow flowers, soft yellow daisy-like Anthemis tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandaise', Achillea ‘Credo’ and Phlomis russeliana with whorls of pale yellow flowers, all look wonderful with hazy blues of nepeta and perovskia.
Yellow roses can also be the prettiest. I love the palest yellow of Rosa ‘Vanessa Bell,’ and the gorgeous single R. ‘Tottering by Gently.’ There are some fabulous climbers such as R. ‘The Pilgrim’, and the adorable early flowering rambler R. banksiae ‘Lutea.’
While softer yellows work well in high summer, the more mellow late summer light flatters the golden yellows of heleniums, which range from the bright yellow of H. ‘Goldene Jugend’, H. ‘The Bishop’ and Inula helenium with its fine needle like petals to more bronze yellow H. ‘Wyndley’. Likewise golden Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' with cone-shaped, blackish-brown centres is a classic for late summer, or for height try R. 'Herbstsonne'. Weave ornamental grasses through these tall golden daisies or team with other late flowerers such as dark red persicarias, echinacea and purple asters.
So, if you’ve shied away from yellow, perhaps now’s the time to embrace this sunny hue.