Few garden plantings are as eye-catching as well-tended bushes covered with cheery yellow blooms. Yellow flowers stand out against green foliage, brightening otherwise dull garden areas. Yellow-flowering bushes will attract bees to pollinate your entire garden. Those shrubs that combine yellow flower with thorns are as effective at discouraging trespassers in your garden as they are appealing to view.
Japanese Golden Barberry
Japanese golden barberry (berberis thunbergii) is a round multi-stemmed bush useful for hedges. Evergreen, this barberry grows between one and a half and six feet tall and produces pale yellow flowers, often hidden beneath yellow-green foliage, each spring. Plant it in full sun to encourage maximum bloom.
Golden barberry needs well-drained soil but is not fussy about soil quality, handling both sand and clay. It's extremely hardy, tolerating even extreme winters in exposed locations. In the United States it's hardy to Zone 5, with average minimum temperatures of --6.67 degrees C.
Shape it by pruning older wood back to the base each spring. Barberry grows quickly, and will screen unattractive areas in a short time. Its invasive tendency, however, means you shouldn't place it too close to other plants.
A bush native to the British Isles, European Gorse (Ulex europaeus) has become a fixture on the golf courses of Scotland, where its thorns discourage the most determined wildlife. Its brilliant yellow spring flowers strongly resemble sweet peas, and its evergreen foliage ensures permanent screening. Gorse is a round, multiple-stemmed bush quickly reaching between 1.8 and 3 metres in height.
The subtle fruity fragrance of its blossoms contrasts with its toughness. Gorse doesn't like very wet or very dry soils, but otherwise is an extremely low-maintenance hardy shrub that does well in exposed locations. In the United States, it's hardy to Zone 6 with minimum temperatures of --12.2 degrees C.
Apollo Oregon Grape
Apollo Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium) is a spreading, low multiple-stemmed bush that works best as a ground cover or as a medium-sized bush no higher than six feet. Its shiny deep green leaves change to red and purple in the winter. In the spring it produces three-inch clusters of showy fragrant yellow flowers that develop into blue-black berries.
Apollo likes well-drained acid fertile soil---it can handle heavy clay---and a partially shaded location. It's hardy, says Backyard Gardener, in Zones 6 and higher with an average minimum temperature of --12.2 degrees C. Trim it in alternate years to maintain its shape.