Monday, August 9, 2010

Plant of the Month: July 2010

Lime, chartreuse, viridian, Paris green, or golden green.  Call it what you will, this color (or range of colors) calls my garden home in many places and many types of plants.  For this month, I seem to have chosen Physocarpus opulifolius 'Dart's Gold' for the prize.  Shrubbery doesn’t usually cheer me for more than a week (or the flowering period), but how can one not love a golden plant that shields (partially) a most hideous, bright yellow play slide.  I would love anything that distracted my eye from that slide.  Yes, even a blue tarp.

camping 013

Another reason to love Dart’s Gold: it grows in Alaska.  The number of golden shrubs that can stand it up here must be hovering around four, unless there has been some new breakthrough in hardiness I haven’t heard about.  (Do let me know if this is the case….) 

early summer bergenia 008  How: Water until established, after which drought tolerant.  Seems to tolerate the silty soil.    

Where: In sun, please. 


Early spring: bright leaves in late spring, almost resembling a forsythia when unfurling.  You’ll have to imagine it; my picture stinks. 

inthegardennursery 016

Summer: whitish flowers

Fall: leaves turn brown at edges and senesce a golden yellow (so pretty much the same  color as summer).  Stunning when backlit.

fall scenes 026

aug-sept -garden tours 094

Copy of late fall 024

2007 Nov-Dec 014  

Winter: Mature bark exfoliating in long, shaggy strips holds winter interest (in Alaska at least.  Not much going on except white and dark green here in the cold months.)

halfmooncreek 052

Copy of mid dec 005 

Why: see above.  Also of easy culture, hardy in Alaska, and available in Alaska.  That last one is rather important.  It is a good mingler, too.  I partner it up with it’s big burly cousin, Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’, Bergenia, Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’, some dark purple Clematis I’ve forgotten the name of, and Picea ‘Ohlendorffii’.

August 08 005

 What is your favorite gold-leaved plant?  Or if you dislike chartreuse, what was your favorite plant for July?


  1. Have just rescued some Sansevieria from a neighbour. Hers has a wide golden yellow margin on the spear shaped leaves. Now have a swathe running thru the 'yellow roses'.

  2. Great post, Christine. I don't really have a favorite chartruese plant - not outside anyway - but I really enjoyed hearing about yours!

  3. This one is growing well for me in year one. I assume you have the dark-leaved cousins, 'Coppertina' and the like? I have a gold-leaved smokebush (z5) but for my mom (z4) it dies to the ground and comes back. Lovely.

  4. Very interesting post! I had never heard of this shrub before and it looks fantastic paired with the Bergenias.

  5. The leaves has a very nice shape that I like. It looks like maple leaf. We hardly have much choice for gold leaves here except for dying leaves! Or perhaps we have the croton plants with yellow leaves is the closest we get. Chartreuse is a beautiful name.

  6. It looks like you have a lot of variety in the garden with only four shrubs available. The bottom image is a beautiful combination. Your snow images look a lot like here, but our temps are better for variety of plants. Today, we are at 77 degrees in Niagara Falls, where you are at 54. I just started following your blog. I will be interested to see your winter posts. And we get a bad rap for snow here, bet you top us by a mile.

  7. Yellow leaved plants always look to me as if they are sick except Hosta. Your Darts Gold looks awesome growing next to the Bergenias.

  8. I love this plant and will add it to my list. I have 'coppertina' and it is one of my favorites. I think the gold would look great against some of the dark burgundy accents I am trying to place around my garden. If it's hardy there, it's hardy here! One perennial I have grown fond of with very bright leaves and a light purple flower spike is agastache 'golden jubilee' though probably not hardy in your area. I left the dried seed heads to stand during the winter and it did spread itself around this spring - maybe it would reseed itself each year for you.

  9. Spectacular pairings Christine!! You have a real flair!

  10. It brought me to think that here, we often put a lot of weight on green and silver leaves to match garden theme, but never yellow. I can only imagine and see your pictures on how naturally beautiful gold leaves are, especially when light touches them. Here in the tropic, even the croton comes variegated with orange, red, green and maroon in a single plant (as in Codiaeum variegatum ("garden croton" or "variegated croton"), hardly ever totally yellow.

  11. Hi Christine, I'm sorry to have been away so long. I'm glad to see you didn't surrender to that looming tarpitis. The Physocarpus-itis sounds like a much better "ailment." I love it. I assume you can't grow Weigela. The variegated W. florida variegata is my favorite chartreusey shrub although I am coveting my friend Carol's chartreuse smoke tree and then there are the Berberis....

  12. I find the moose leave my Dart's Gold alone, even when I don't plantskydd it. This may have something to do with the willows in close proximity tempting them away, but anything the moose don't chew on gets my vote!


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