I’ve just returned from meeting my new grandson, Ian. What pure delight. Of course I tried hard to remember what my son, Nick, was like as a newborn in comparison. It’s easier being a grandparent, I can say that much. I remember being a very anxious new mother, worried about doing things “just right.” Nick turned out beautifully but I think more by his own doing than by my parenting and I am so proud of him, seeing him as a loving, devoted, husband and father. When he was a little guy, Nick wore yellow very well and accordingly there were other yellow things about, including a yellow gingham-dressed clown in his bedroom. Until his brother, Blake arrived and was terrified of it. The clown, that is, but perhaps of his older brother, too. The clown was put in the donation bin.
Last week I wrote about the spring countdown…Today, it surely feels like spring is here or that we are right on the cusp of it. Some of my landscape colleagues tell me a big snow is yet to come. I so hope they are wrong. I am ready for the garden to get back into more color. But the yellow. Oh the lovely yellow of right now…..I am just over the edge about it…And it is a huge garden tease for the up-coming season. In the past week, it seems like my garden has just sprouted into a collection of yellow exclamation points—and then some. Here’s what we have:
Cornus mas—Cornelian Cherry Tree. This is a yellow-flowering Dogwood, not a cherry tree at all. The buds are round and have been very inspiring all winter but now, adjacent to the Witch Hazel which is just about finished its bloom, this Dogwood is just beginning to push out flowers that now look like a yellow mist over the tree. The bark is similar to that of a Kousa Dogwood—rather peel-y and flaky. Birds adore this tree and since it is near a window, I get to see lots of action all year because the foliage is not super dense. It is a small tree as they go, so it is perfect for small suburban gardens or as part of large planted borders. It is on my Top Ten Trees for Gardens list, too. The Fall foliage is also a nice golden yellow;
Tete a Tete Daffies—My garden friend, Bob, has this expression in springtime: “What was I so busy doing last fall that I didn’t plant more Daffodils?” I took his advice and planted hundreds of these mini Daffies which are less than eight inches tall. Perfect for the front of a border, along a walkway, tucked in here and there. Keep in mind, even if you want to plant some further back into larger borders, it is fine as your shrubs don’t yet have leaves when Daffies are blooming so the color in the plant beds will be most welcome. So mark your calendars now for next September —GET DAFFIES ORDERED. You don’t have to have them shipped right away upon ordering: you can select a ship date of anytime you want. This way, the vendor won’t run out and you can plant around Thanksgiving;
Corylopsis—Winter Hazel. This is just unfurling as I write and I can’t wait to see it. It is a new plant for me in the garden and is currently in containers—one on each side of the back stoop stairs. The buds over the winter were a subtle rosy color, large buds made additional interest. As they unfurl, they look a bit like a pinecone as they stretch out to reveal their secret. Maybe by the weekend they will full-open. They won’t stay in the container, though, after bloom; they will eventually make it to the garden bed near the garage in front of the Cherry Laurels. My hope is that every early spring, their yellow flowers will be almost back-lit by the gloss of the Laurels. This plant is supposed to be about ten feet high and wide, so definitely needs some room to stretch;
The crowing yellow glory in the garden right now is the Paperbush—Edgeworthia. A member of the Daphne family tells you that the flowers are super fragrant. Head-turning fragrant. I wait with excitement as the buds, large and striking, like tight-fisted bundles as they swell over the course of Winter. The shrub itself is a real beauty: the stems are a rusty-brown with large lenticels, or pores, that adds lots of dimension to the plant; the stems are about pencil-sized; the branching very open. Mature, the plant will be about six feet high and wide. I might have pruned three or so branches from it over the five years I’ve had it making it one of the easiest plants to maintain in my garden. As with most fragrant plants, if you add this to your garden you will want to plant it near a walkway or gate so you can experience the fragrance. The flowers are like little bouquets, collections of yellow flowers cased in a furry-white tiny trumpets. Vendors for this plant? Triple Oaks Nursery had some last fall and I saw some at Magnolia Garden Center on the drive-by last spring—recognized it immediately and you know me, I rubberneck for plants.
Yellow is sometimes described as the color of hope. Today, with flowers and Ian on my mind, I couldn’t agree more.