There is nothing quite like a group of yellowto give the illusion of sunlight in a room. For, in the minds of most people, yellow is the colour of spring and spring is the time when one hopes for some hours of sunshine after winter gloom and greyness. Winter aconites, daffodils, primroses, laburnum, cowslips, buttercups, mimosa, —are all the first of spring and all are yellow.
What a difference in shades there can be in this one colour. From the glistening yellow of a buttercup, looking as though it has been varnished in its brightness, to the paler, more gentle, yellow of primroses growing in a cluster on a mossy bank.
Yellow is nearly always a safe choice when taking or sending flowers as a present. Some people do not like to be given white flowers, (‘too funereal’ I have heard them remark). Blue is not a good colour in artificial light, neither is purple, and red can be difficult with furnishings.
Apart from the spring ones already mentioned, there are many other yellow flowers, some in the herbaceous variety are blanket flowers () tickseed ( ), golden rod and yarrow ( ). Then there is a good lemon coloured snapdragon (this looks most attractive when planted with white) and, of course, those most magnificent lilies, Limelight, Destiny, and Charity. include Paul’s Lemon Pillar (rather pale but very fine blooms), Rosa hugonis (charming small single flowers interspersed with feathery foliage), Nevada (pale when it is fully out and a soft charming colour), Lydia, Spek’s Yellow, McGredy’s Yellow, Goldilocks, Highlight, Allgold. (These last six roses are all well known and frequently grown. Amongst climbing roses a good yellow is Emily Gray and, even more famous, Mermaid, although this is perhaps not one of the most lasting of blooms when cut.)
Strangely enough, most of the grey foliaged plants have yellow flowers and some of these are most suitable and attractive for arrangement. (garden ragwort is perhaps one of the best.) But on the whole, it is best for the plants if the flowers are removed, though it is permissible to keep a few for.
There are some good yellow foliage plants which, if not completely yellow, are at least variegated. These include golden privet, variegated periwinkle, holly and silver berry (Elaeagnus).
Some wallflowers, tulips and primulas come in a good yellow, as do pansies and lupins. The same is true of certainlike broom, berberis, honeysuckle and azalea. Fennel, from the herb garden, has a most charming clear yellow flower, which lasts exceptionally well, and in the same colour range is the stately eremurus. Equally pleasing are columbines, iris, monkey musk, globe flower and evening primrose (although this last flower is not a lasting one in spite of the fact that as each flower fades a bud will come out).
Winter jasmine, with its showers of- pure gold cascading down from a fence or the side of a wall, cheers many a cloudy wintry day — witch hazel () will do the same. Its small starlike flowers on bare branches are delicate and enchanting. If a few branches can be spared for cutting they will make perfect material for a ‘line’ arrangement. (If brought in before the flowers are fully out, it is fascinating to watch this process indoors.)
, reliable and long-lasting, come in all shades of yellow. One of the most charming colours is the pale lemon yellow of the spray , which usually has a fresh green foliage. The colour of this foliage sets off the flowers to their best advantage and contrives almost to produce a springlike effect in the late autumn.
I must not omit from this list a well known flower which is sometimes regarded by arrangers with distaste because of its habit of developing curving. This is the leopard’s bane (Doronicum). Its daisy like flowers are a clear golden yellow and are especially attractive when cut quite short and arranged with white flowers such as white bluebells, white broom, or Queen Anne’s lace. If fixed right down into the bowl amongst the white flowers the general impression will be of white studded with gold and this arrangement will show off the leopard’s bane since the beauty of their faces is often lost owing to the curving . They last well and are available at a time when other herbaceous plants are only just beginning to show some growth much less produce flowers.
Another positive point in favour of yellow flowers is their usefulness in bringing harmony to an arrangement in a mixed bowl. Sometimes a splash of colour is required in an arrangement and flowers which in nature would clash have to be arranged together. How does one solve this problem? Miss Sackville-West writing on the planting of herb lilies () in her book In your Garden said ‘Keep the orange away from the coral for they do not mix well together, and whoever it was who said Nature made no mistakes in colour harmony was either colour blind or a sentimentalist’. My solution to the problem is a yellow flower, for the most strident oranges, reds, purples and crimsons.
Yet another good example are decorations using orange marigolds or nasturtiums. Arranged alone or with bright reds and scarlets, these flowers can have a hard appearance because of the rather flat quality of the orange colour. But immediately a paler lemon yellow is introduced the hardness of the orange seems to melt away.
I should like to suggest a fewfor yellow flowers:
- Yellow broom with yellow tulips and white .
- Honeysuckle with summer jasmine and yellow roses (Emily Gray).
- Yellow columbines with masterwort and sprays of Rosa hugonis or Nevada rose.
- Tall stems of fennel, the white tobacco plant (Nicotiana) and pale yellow snapdragons.
- Yellow and white snapdragons in a bowl.
- , cut short, with early bluebells and two or three out of door blue .
- White foxgloves with yellow iris and buttercups.
- Small sprays of the slipper flower (Cakeolaria) with white pinks.
- Nasturtiums, all colours with their .
- Yellow tulips with blue forget-me-nots.
- Yarrow ( ) arranged with St. John’s Wort and blue delphiniums.