Mellow yellow

My apologies for the inevitable ear-worm (if it’s any consolation, I’m stuck with it) but I found myself focused on yellow all day yesterday even though it isn’t my favorite color. As a matter of fact, most of the time it doesn’t even make my top five. But after spring’s opening trumpets of yellow have faded away, I’ve noticed yellow become much mellower and more precious for being less ubiquitous. So rather than seeing it like I usually do, as a difficult, potentially crazy-making color that doesn’t play well with others, I can see that it, like my favorite colors, has the potential to make a garden more beautiful.

It might have been the silvery shroud of fog that made even the acid yellow of euphorbia and Spirea ‘Golden Elf’ so delicious. Then again, any yellow that borders that closely on chartreuse, almost always hits me right…

And maybe I was starved for sun but I could just eat up Yellow Bird magnolia – the flowers look as sweet-tart as a lemon meringue. By contrast, the Father Hugo roses (Rosa hugonis) are covered in butter pats (and who doesn’t love butter?). I’m even enjoying the buttercups, shimmering hazily in the fog off in the tall-grass of the soon-to-be-mown-again Great Lawn. I think they and all of the other “lawn weeds” make a greensward expanse much more interesting.

But the pièce de résistance – the plant with the power to make me crazy about yellow – is the clump of our new yellow lady’s slipper orchids (Cypripedium pubescens parviflorum var. pubescens). Last fall one of our volunteers generously donated them. Let me reassure you: they were not poached from the woods – they are on the USDA protected plants list. Rather, a friend of hers has a cultivated clump in his garden that grew large enough to divide. We’re thrilled that these extra precious native wildflowers ($75 each at Garden in the Woods and worth every penny) survived the move. And aren’t they the loveliest shade of banana-peel?

How do you feel about yellow? Do your feelings for it waffle as mine do with the weather and the season?