Delicate yellow flowers perk a hidden spot

A few summers back, when I saw a low-growing perennial in a friend’s front yard covered with dainty flowers in the most delicate shade of yellow, one of the first things I did upon returning home was to find the identity with the intent of obtaining a plant to add to our perennial garden; but, alas, even though I learned with the help of books that the plant is an Oenothera, it was late in the season and therefore the garden center I usually go to had none left. On the positive side, however, I made a note in my so-called gardening planner to look for it the following spring. And sure enough, not only did I remember about it but found a nice healthy specimen of Oenothera fruticosa ‘Youngii’ ready to go in the ground.    

Aptly called “sundrops” because of small canary-yellow cup-shaped flowers the perennial bears, another common name oenotheras go by is evening primrose although they are not related to the true primrose, Primula sp. Plants are mat forming and tend to spread but are not invasive, hence make a pretty ground- cover that flowers all summer long. Narrow leaves become red in autumn making O. fruticosa ‘Youngii’ even more attractive.

Plants like to be grown in moderately rich, well-drained soil in sunny spots. Since the location we chose now  gets shadowed by taller neighboring perennial, our Oenothera has become somewhat leggy in search of sun; in this process, the thin branches seek support of adjacent plants which in turn makes the delicate flowers peek from unexpected, hidden places. It is truly a delightful sight.

Crowded clumps can be divided in fall to share with friends or to plant elsewhere to liven the garden with the brilliant yellow. Speaking of which, presently there are a few other plants blooming in the same general area which bear yellow flowers too. Worth mentioning are heliopsis’ (false sunflower), coreopsis, marigold, and vegetables namely squash and cucumber which we decided to intermingle in the flower garden this year.

Yellow must be catching in our perennial garden

Gita’s Tip of the Month: On hot summer days, leftover water in a  watering hose connected to the spigot can get fairly heated if the hose is lying exposed in the sun. So, before using on plants, let the water drain for a minute or so until feels comfortable to touch.

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