Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our yellow period

There seems to be a whole lot of yellow in the spring garden now. Here's Aurinia saxatilis, or basket-of-gold (used to be called Alyssum saxatile). These plants were all grown from seed by my husband for his rock garden, but he had many leftovers and they work well in the rockery around our patio.

I must put some blue with them. We just dug out a bunch of grape hyacinth bulbs and I think this would be a good place to put them.

Here are the grape hyacinths with cushion spurge (which I always call Euphorbia polychroma). Apparently E. epithymoides is correct. According to my favorite perennial expert Allan Armitage:
The proper botanical name of this species is constantly in doubt. E. polychroma, named by an Austrain, Anton Josef Kerner in 1875, was superseded by E. epithymoides, given by Linnaeus, in 1770. Normallly the first name takes precedence, and thus E. epithymoides should be the correct name. However, that name had been given to another species. Because of this confusion, cushion spurge will be listed by both names for many years to come; choose the one you like and stay with it.
Of course, most gardeners don't give a hoot, and go with cushion spurge. These plants too were grown from seed by my husband a few years ago, in his Euphorbia period.

I was surprised to see another blogger refer this plant as a thug and vicious spreader. Wow: I'm really fond of it, and don't find it a problem. But then, we do weed religiously around here. Yes, cushion spurge self-seeds a good deal, but it's easy weed out where you don't want it. We tend to move self-seeded ones into spots where we do want them.

Tracy DiSabato-Aust, whose book The Well-Tended Perennial Garden is a must-have, suggests shearing the plants back by one-third after flowering but before the seeds mature. Not only does the shearing take care of unwanted self-seeded babies, but it helps maintain a nicely shaped rounded plant that's less likely to open up in the centre. She suggests wearing gloves when you're shearing because the plant's milky sap can cause skin irritation for many people.

I have more information about this plant, and what to grow it with at my web site.

© Yvonne Cunnington, Country Gardener


  1. The yellow and the blue together just "pop". That is a great looking plant no matter what it's called.

  2. Great lesson Yvonne! Thanks! Sometimes I think people with BIG gardens don't mind the self-seeders as much!! I have plenty to move around now that's for sure! I love the yellow, looks great!


Thanks so much for visiting this site. I have a new country garden blog and I will no longer be publishing comments at this blog. If you have a question or comment about the topic here, please use the contact form at my new blog to get in touch with me.

-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener