or, Gold Alyssum;
or, Golden Alison
"Tis a morning pure & sweet
And a dewy splendour falls
On the little flower that clings
To the turrets and the walls."
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) is a hardy, low growing perennial that will cascade off a rocky ledge or out of a hanging basket, densely covered with clusters of small bright yellow blossoms in spring & summer. It is as tall as eight inches or a foot, with potential for considerable spread, self-seeding in its own vicinity for further spread if permitted.
It has escaped cultivation in the Northeast United States to naturalize in the wild, originally native of eastern Europe.
It is moderately drought hardy. The species name means "grows among rocks" as it does like poor rocky well-drained soil in full sun, but also tolerates a small amount of shade.
In richer humusy soil it more quickly gets leggy but still blooms nicely. It also gets leggy in shadier locations. Whenever an old clump becomes too floppy or rangy, a good shearing causes it to refresh itself.
Slender leaves are somewhat glaucus or blue-grey. It is largely deciduous but usually saves some leafy evidence of itself through winter. For spring to autumn it forms a solid mat of foliage, but is loose & soft, so that it makes a good companion for tall tulips & daffodils, insuring life & color in a given location when bulbs have gone summer-dormant.
Clumps can be divided in autumn or just before spring. It is best as a filler groundcover rather than a focal point. It can be grown in zones 4 through 8 & might be stretched to zones 3 through 10 with protection, though in warmer climates it will be shorter lived.
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