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Yellow for Light and Life

Blue may be important and popular, but yellow is more important, for yellow is luminous and its closely related hues give vitality and warmth to all compositions. Yellow is always gay. Hues vary from strong, deep primary yellow to clear orange-yellow on one side, and yellowish-greens on the other. There is wide choice of chroma, and numerous shades and tints of each variation of hue.

plate 22a
Plate 22a. A Group of Yellow Flowers
1. Lilium Valencia 5. Linum perenne
2. Chrysanthemum maximu Alaska  6. Anthemis tinctoria Moonlight
3. Hemerocallis W. H. Wyman 7. Snapdragon Yellow King
4. Phlox Lord Raleigh 8. Torenia fournieri

For the best effects, match chroma for chroma. For example, use strong, clear yellow with strong, clear blue, or pale straw-yellow with pale pink or pale blue. When strong yellow is used with weaker tints, it steals attention and destroys the delicacy of the lighter color. An exception occurs when pale lemon and creamy yellows are used in various combinations to subdue or blend stronger colors. The tints of yellow do not create such striking contrast as to look spotty or destroy unity.

Mrs. Wilder liked yellow flowers in full sunshine. "They seem to gather glow from the sun and seldom bleach or shrivel before its warmth as do many blue and scarlet flowers. I am not fond of gardens or borders devoted to one color, but if ever I were tempted to make one it would be yellow in all the frank and pleasant tones from cream and buff and the bright butter yellows through apricot to the tawny ocherous shades, reaching now and then to flame."

Yellow is abundant through the garden year. The colors of spring are yellow and white. Various mulleins, evening primroses, rudbeckia, and several lilies, as well as many annuals bring midsummer yellows, and the autumn picture is gay with many yellow chrysanthemums. (Plate 22a.)

plate 22b
Plate 22b. A Composition with Yellow Dominant
1. Alyssum saxatile 7. Aquilegia chrysantha
2. Polemouium reptans 8. Hemerocallis Duchess of Windsor
3. Oneothera missouriensis  9. Phlox Mrs. Flanders
4. Narcissus Aerolite 10. Thermopsis caroliniana
5. Tulip Golden Duchess 11. Anchusa italica Dropmore
6. Coreopsis lanceolata 12. Veronica Blue Spires

Yellow and white are always pleasing together and there is a fresh simplicity in their use. Another strong contrast may be had from strong yellow with strong blue, or even with difficult purple, but strong yellow should not be used with magenta or red-purple. Pale creamy or straw yellow is better here. Strong yellow does not look well with pink or lavender. Even though yellow is frequent in the flower world, it has to be used thoughtfully. One friend writes that yellow is the one color that causes havoc in her garden, and many feel that median yellow is too garish. This is not necessarily true if yellow is properly placed. It does create strong accent with white, blue, or red, but not disharmony. These accents are merely on the strident side and should be used sparingly for particular effect. Often yellow will bring sparkle to schemes in which delicate shades of blue, pink, and lavender predominate. In compositions that appear heavy or cold, a touch of yellow will bring out other colors and add warmth and cheer. (Plate 22b.)


Bright yellow should be used seldom with pale blue-violet and never with pink. Example: Golden Yellow viola with Purple Glory or Blue Perfection is not pleasing. Bright yellow tulips should be separated from bleedingheart and most pink tulips.

Clear yellow with most blues. Example: Thermopsis caroliniana with anchusa. White may be used in such a group.

Creamy yellow of any chroma with any blue-white or pale blue. Anthemis Moonlight with Shasta daisies or with flax.

Pale creamy yellow can be used with red-purples. Hemerocallis Mrs. W. H. Wyman with magenta phlox or with phlox Lord Raleigh or Le Mahdi. Pale creamy yellow gladiolus can be substituted for the daylily.

Pale straw yellow or creamy tints can be used anywhere in place of white for color separation, except near red and strong pink. (Note combinations under other colors.)




Alyssum saxatile compactum
Anemone alpina sulphurea
Iris pumila Excelsa
Jean Siret
Primula veris supberba
Viola cornuta Golden Yellow
Sutton Pale Yellow
Yellow Gem
Yellow Gold


Aquilegia Giant Yellow-hybrids
Doronicum caucasicum
Hemerocallis flava
Iris germanica California Gold
Elsa Sass
Fair Elaine
Golden Majesty
Ming Yellow
Iris monnieri
ochroleuca Golden Nugget
Trollius europaeus


Crocus aureus
chrysanthus A. P. Bowles
E. Aug. Bowles
Narcissus Aerolite
Orange Prince
Red Marly
Rene de Chalons


Mrs. John Scheepers
Golden Duchess
Golden Age
Belle Jaune


Azalea calendulacea
Cornus mas
Corylopsis pauciflora
Forsythia, in variety
Hamamelis mollis
Kerria japonica
Laburnum vossi
Ribes aureum
Rose—Harrison's Yellow



Geum Lady Stratheden
Helianthemum aureum
Linum flavum
Oenothera missouriensis


Anthemis tinctoria Golden Dawn
Aquilegia chrysantha
Coreopsis grandiflora
Digitalis ambigua
Gallardia Mr. Sherwood
Helenium pumilum magnificum
Heliopsis scabra incomparabilis
Hemerocallis Fascinating
J. A. Crawford
Primrose Mascotte
Hypericum moserianum
patulum Sungold
Lilium aurelian hybrids
elegans Alice Watson
Oenothera fruticosa youngi
Rudbeckia goldstrum
Tanacetum huronense
Verbascum olympicum


Althea rosea
Centaurea macrocephala
Digitalis isabellina
Hypericum ascyron
Lilium canadense flavum
regale Goldcup
Thalictrum glaucum
Thermopsis caroliniana
Tritoma Primrose Beauty
Verbascum densiflorum


Caragana arborescens
Cytisus nigricans
Hypericum prolificum
Potentilla fruticosa Gold Drop
(ochroleuca) Lemon Drop



Chrysanthemum Brighter Days (Cushion)
Happy (Lilliput)


Chrysanthemum Chiqueta
Charles Nye
Eugene Wander
Golden State
Yellow Cactus
Yellow Irene


Helenium autumnale superbum
Riverton Beauty


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