For many years, I worked in an industrial park bordering a residential neighborhood. Nearby dwellings were cramped together into a densely populated ten block radius. Every home had a tiny patch of lawn at the front and a slightly larger patch at the rear. No one in this neighborhood had disposable income to purchase plants and even fewer had time to garden. Those that could were retired. On their small plots, some grew a few vegetables, others planted a lone wild rose bush and everybody grew Heliopsis.
This sun loving perennial was planted without any regard for landscape design or property enhancement. Heliopsis was planted wherever it might grow. It literally popped up anywhere and looked rather ugly against the grey stucco or dull brick that covered the exterior of most of the homes. To follow the sun it would sometimes peek around building corners so that it appeared to be growing out of no- where. In this neighborhood, it was the only visible plant, other than rhubarb. Driving through this area daily was a painful experience because all I saw was this one flower, blooming in my least favorite color – gold.
A lot has changed in my outlook since then. Now when I see Heliopsis integrated into a composition of autumn blooming perennials, or growing as a lush grove against a white fence, I am surprised at how beautiful this plant appears when strategically placed. Surprisingly, this shade of gold, when drenched in the sun, transforms itself into a rich yellow. Now that’s a color I can live with! I think that I will plant some against my neighbor’s brown fence. The contrast of the two colors should be very interesting indeed.