Yellow brightens the day so we think of it as sunshine.  You can have it predominate your yard most any time if you like.  The first part of July I was asked to go see a yellow tree that turned out to be a GOLDEN RAIN TREE (Koelreuteria paniculata) also known as the Pride of India or the VARNISH TREE. Tiny yellow flowers in large chains with a very tiny red center covered the tree, which is listed for zones 6-9. I have a 6 footer given to me last fall by Beverly McLaughlin. It was a tall slender stick with compound leaves.  It is growing great guns this wet spring so survived in zone 5.  There is a gorgeous one at South 47th and Pioneer in Lincoln. There are also a few yellow CHAIN TREES (Laburnum species) scattered around Lincoln that have, of course, long dense chains hanging down about 20 inches long that look like pea blossoms.  Also listed for zone 6 but doing very well in protected places.  We need to try different trees as their bug enemies and diseases are not as likely to be so thick here.  Both trees are small-up to 25 feet high so they fit well into a small lot.

          For a yellow perennial that blooms for a long time   COREOPSIS SPECIES can not be beat. They are prairie or woodland plants native to North America.  They are a good plant to attract bees to your yard and a few of the species are pink.  Some may grow to 30 inches but most are about 18 with a good deal of variation in the flowers from solid yellow to brown or orange centers. The dwarfs, such as GOLDFINCH, may be only 10 inches high. The thread leafed have exactly that. By deadheading one can have bright yellow for over a month. They also reseed to make thick patches that do not demand a great deal of water.

          Members of the Centaurea genus are very varied from knapweed, BASKET FLOWER, DUSTY MILLER, MOUNTAIN BLUETS, CORNFLOWER, and even BACHELOR BUTTONS. The big yellow one in my yard is called GIANT KNAPWEED (Centaurea macrocephola) is about 3 feet tall with 3 inch flower heads sitting in brown bracts.  It took me several tries to get them started but now they are big leafed clumps ready to bloom in July.  They do not like transplanting so you need to get them as small as possible before the roots get too well developed.

          VERBASCUM, also called MULLEIN is a 5-6 foot tall large leaf plant with spikes of up to 2-3 feet long of small stemless flowers clustered all around the main stem. There are other colors than gold such as white with red centers, purple, or red.  Hybridizers have been developing the colors but only the white and yellow have survived for me.  With the number flowers comes many seeds.  I have seen MULLEIN described as invasive as it does produce a lot of seed. 

          Starting to bloom about the first of July and continuing for 6 to 8 weeks are the HELIANTHUS SPECIES of 70 to 80 different annuals or perennials.  This genus does contain the sunflowers of many varieties and sizes from 12 inches to 10-12 feet.  TEDDY BEAR, my favorite little one, is very short with a bright gold, double bloom about 5 inches across. This genus adjusts well to drought and does not like wet feet. Helianthus annus is a SUNFLOWER that may have blooms 12 inches across with the mammoth one growing 12 feet high. They like full sun, survive drouth and come in many colors.  They do reseed themselves in areas without squirrels.  As soon as my heads are about to mature the squirrels climb up and start pulling seeds. This bends the heads over.  A fat squirrel can actually break a head off.  So far I have never been able to bring a whole head in for winter food.          

          When I buy seeds for “animal feed” I prefer to get the oil seed SUNFLOWER as they seem to be preferred by several species of birds.  However, the shells of SUNFLOWER seeds contain a compound which keeps other plants from growing so the last few years I have gotten SUNFLOWER hearts.

          So if you want a SUNFLOWER like bloom that is perennial, and just as bright a yellow, try HELIOPSIS SPECIES. They are in bloom now and will keep on blooming up to six weeks. They are also tall, coarse leafed plants that need to be divided about every 3 years. There are a number of varieties and the squirrels won’t break their heads off.  The blooms last just as long in bouquets as the true SUNFLOWER.

          For a bulb gold there are DAHLIAS, both large and small. Seeds of the small ones planted in spring will bloom the same summer.  They also produce bulbs but it is easier to plant seeds.  The plate DAHLIAS need to be dug in the fall and stored in a cool place with an occasional sprinkle as they tend to dry out. 

          I have never seen a yard done just in gold but it could be done!!!

Copyright 2008




          Many weed killers have Trimec as the active ingredient. This includes Ortho Weed-Be-Gone and Earl May Lawn Weed Killer. Trimec has three (tri) chemicals as active ingredients (MCCP, 2,4-D, and Dicamba). The Dicamba is a systemic and takes chemical down to the root system. The 2,4-D is a good weed killer but will drift when the wind is above 5 miles per hour and is able to drift at least two to three blocks on a windy day. Tomatoes and many other plants are very susceptible to 2,4-D.

          These three chemicals may also burn the tips of your grass if applied when the temperature is above 85 degrees F. Even if you put the chemical on the lawn in the early morning or the evening before, and the temperature goes above 90 degrees F., the chemical will volatilize off the leaf of the weed and grass and drift to nearby plants, shrubs and trees.


Copyright 2008