Add a pop of sunshine to your yard

Although some people think yellow leaves are a sign of a problem, this spirea is meant to have this distinctive foliage. Planting this variety (spirea Japonica “lime mound”) offers a different variety of color to your landscape, a yellowish tinge you can enjoy all summer.

Gold is king in Colorado’s fall color scheme.

Sure, back East, they have reds and purples and oranges, but here, it’s all about the yellow.

As soon as summer’s last hurrah gives way to fall, the rabbit brush starts bursting into bloom, lending an almost glowing citrus haze to the landscape, and that’s when it all starts.

Yellow adds a cheery, sun-drenched touch to any garden, and it’s a color that doesn’t have to be relegated to autumn. You don’t have to wait for the softly fluttering leaves of the aspen, clinking like gold coins against the true-blue October sky.

If you’re wishing you had more citrine tones to your landscape throughout the summer, it’s an effect that can be accomplished with not only flowers, but foliage, too.

People tend to associate leaves that have a yellow tinge with disease or a mineral deficiency. When yellow leaves are a sign of a problem with a plant, the symptom is referred to as “chlorosis.”

What we think of as the normal, green hue of the leaves is missing because of the absence of chlorophyll. (Remember this from elementary school science?)

Here in western Colorado, yellowing leaves are often a sign of iron chlorosis, because our soil composition makes it difficult for plants to access the mineral and make use of it. Other times, yellow leaves can be a sign of too little or too much watering.

But some plants are actually golden-tinged on purpose. I figured this out the hard way once, after fertilizing the heck out of a spirea with yellow leaves and having no luck turning it green.

It finally dawned on me that this particular variety was selected for yellow foliage, and it wasn’t sick at all. It was just being different and bright and beautiful amongst all the green.

Golden flowers are a cheerful addition to the garden, and are particularly striking when positioned with blue or purple, which bees absolutely love.

In fall, there’s no shortage of yellow blooms, from plump tufts of mums to the tall spikes of Maximilian daisies.

That last rush of gold is a sign the garden year is nearly over, and soon there will be more leaves to crunch on the ground than there will be fluttering in the trees.

So now is the time to look around your yard and decide where a pop of golden sunshine can live, and get that perennial planted so it can come back in the spring.

You won’t be disappointed!

Erin McIntyre is an advanced master gardener and journalist who hosts “Diggin’ the Garden,” the second Wednesday of every month at noon on KAFM 88.1. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with story ideas or feedback.


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