A Study on Color: Yellow in the Garden

Here’s a fun fact: yellow is the brightest color that the human eye can see. While it is normally thought of as an intense, overpowering color, using paler shades links other, brighter colors effectively. For example, pale creamy yellow calms bright pinks and purples. Or use an all-yellow palate – combining different shades – to create a cheerful yet sophisticated outdoor living space.

Yellow represents youth, fun, joy, sunshine and other happy feelings. It is a cheerful and energetic color. However, while yellow radiates when paired with shades of green, yellow cand be hard to read when placed with white. To enhance yellow with white, choose green and white variegated leaves! Although yellow is a bright and cheerful color, it can quickly become dirty and unpleasant, as it approaches the darker shades. So a mostly overcast environment – like Seattle – can make brighter yellows look gaudy.

Here’s a few plants that will bring yellow into your garden!

Sunflowers: These hardy plants do well as long as the soil is not too wet – perfect for hot Nebraska summers. Sunflowers are an annual that has big daisy-like flowers with bright yellow petals and brown centers. They can grow to over 16 feet tall, but there are smaller varieties and alternatives – like black-eyed susan!

Tulips: These perennial flowers come in a variety of jewel tones – but of course, like daffodils, they are classically yellow! They grow from a bulb and bloom in spring. Which gives you a stellar opportunity to mix up the color of your space with different annuals in the summer!

Gold Mound Spirea: This shrub is a great way to border your landscaping. While it does produce pink flowers, you grow these for their leaves. It is also very common, so if you want to be unique, it may not be for you.

Of course, you can find yellow in hostas too! And I personally love yellow cushions as an accent on dark outdoor furniture.