Catch the yellow fever

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The Tour de France is heading for Yorkshire and the county is gearing up to welcome the riders and the circus which surrounds them.

Hotels, B&Bs, camp sites – they’ll all be booked up months in advance because people love to see the kings of cycling.

But if you can’t get a room at the inn, can’t even get near the course on the two days the two-wheeled elite flash through Yorkshire, there’s still no reason you can’t celebrate the event and, indeed, add your own very special welcome.

Go yellow. Grow yellow.

There’s no shortage of flowering and foliage plants which are bathed in blooms or leaves that even old Midas would have coveted.

Even if daffodils and forsythia are a bit early, there are still plenty of plants with yellow flowers, such as forms of Alchemilla mollis, pot marigolds, chrysanthemums, dahlia , the vibrant Genista lydia, gladioli, hypericum, the ever-popular kniphofia (red-hot pokers) , numerous potentillas, rudbeckia, sedum and, of course, French marigolds. Plus, there are plenty of plants whose flowers are tinged with yellow.

And plants with yellow foliage include, maples, berberis, the fantastic Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’, plenty of chamaecyparis, ivies, Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’, the much-neglected golden form of the common elder, and a host more.

The vast majority of these flowers and shrubs and trees are readily available, and most are relatively easy to grow in Yorkshire. Just give them the growing conditions they prefer and they should thrive. Obviously, it will be easier to have flowers blooming in time for the Tour; shrubs and trees require a bit more consideration regarding planting sites – but in time, one or two could turn into large specimen plants.

If you haven’t got the space, the time or the inclination to plant en masse in the shape of the famous Yellow Jersey, think about filling a few containers.

Marigolds are instant impact plants; roses are always worth considering and even a small golden conifer can light up a dark corner.

The Tour cyclists aren’t likely to slow down or stop to enjoy the gardens, but the cavalcade of visitors heading this way could be in for a treat. After the riders have hared through Harrogate and then vanished over Holme Moss on their way to Sheffield, all those golden gardens will remain to be admired and everyone will remember the time the Tour came to Yorkshire.