greentapestry : Out With The Shades!

Friday 14 August 2009

Out With The Shades!

This is probably the brightest coloured flower in my garden. I have to confess not to being a big fan of yellow and apart from daffodils, primroses and some pale creamy yellow daisies I have snubbed the more in your face yellows up to now. However in an a conscious attempt to introduce more colour into the late summer garden, I asked for a friend if she could let me have a little bit of this plant when I saw it flowering in her garden. Now that was about three years ago and this plant has turned out to be a veritable thug. It's girth has widened considerably - goodness knows what it is eating but it's in for some serious thinning out next spring. My friend does know what it is but a helianthus is a prime suspect up to now. Apart from its spreading habit is quite a tall plant and I have had difficulty thinking of suitable companions, so much so that it sticks out like a sore thumb. In fact thinning out may not be drastic enough - perhaps the time has come to remove it completely and look for a replacement. I would go for another late flowering plant but I will definitely do more research before planting next time. If I do this I will save a portion though to plant at the allotment as it does sparkle on dreary days. Now is a perfect time to be looking for candidates so I have a perfect excuse to go to a plant fair at our local nursery this weekend :)


  1. Helianthus can be quite aggressive if given a little moisture and decent soil. The rudbeckias can seed but they do pull out easily if you want another in your face late season flower;) I have a giant cup plant that towers above the rest of the garden and design wise, needs to be someplace else...but if you saw the bees hanging around you might not want to move it does make me laugh when I see it! gail

  2. Maybe you could look at Echineau or some of the other Heleniums. I have just bought Helenium Moerheim Beauty and it is lovely and not as tall as the Helianthus (which I also have). I find the Helianthus works quite well with Eryngiums height wise.

  3. Anna:
    Ahhh, another who is debating the plight of a 'very happy and substantially increasing by the minute' Helianthus - I grow H. 'Lemon Queen' and have oft thought the same until she reveals her gloriously happy light yellow 'faces' every year and then I lose all determination. I have her beside Echinops and slightly in front of Vernonia crinata with its dark purple umbels.... to lose this complimentary colour would be an injustice.... so for another year she will get taller and wider!

  4. Hi Anna~~ When I saw your title I thought, oh good the sun is finally shining for Anna. As I recall you've had a wet summer.

    I'm not a huge fan of yellow either and I can see your dilemma. It's always a risk, receiving plants from well-meaning fellow gardeners. I have a suggestion, if I might. Tracy de Sablo Aust (I'm not correct with her last name; you've probably hear of her) has authored several gardening books. Her book on perennials details how and when to cut perennials back by half to keep them bushier and not so tall. Of course this will help with the verticality aspect but not so much for the girth issue.

    I will admit they are awfully pretty flowers.

  5. Hi Anna

    I'm a bit off yellow these days. Of course it'll pass, like all things it's a phase.

    That helianthus is a true yellow alright.

    You'd be best to take it down the 'lottie', is it an insect magnet.

  6. I've just let mine thread itself through the white phlox and mauve Veronica, both of which seem to dilute mine a little. And whilst I'm usually tired of yellow after the spring, I've been really glad of its reappearance thanks to our past dull, wet summers.

    I have 2 H. 'Lemon Queen' about to flower. They looked fab at the RHS Inner Temple show last year and being a gentler yellow they're truly lovely.

    Having said all that I've just treated myself to some fiery and dark flowers!

    Have a great weekend :)

  7. Is that woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)? I have some and love them, but they do spread. Coreopsis is nice for yellow, as is Helenium, esp, in fall.

  8. It is rather bright! But then I expect you know my views on yellow ;)

    Hope you had fun plant shopping.
    Thanks to a link you gave me I am visiting a plant fair next weekend.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.