Underestimated and undervalued, Doronicum ‘Miss Mason’, this early flowering, early leafing perennial is worth a place in all gardens. Reliable is its middle name, not a year will pass without a generous supply of single yellow composite flowers sent to a maximum height of 400mm.
Easily propagated by division, this is best done in late autumn allowing the rejuvenated roots to establish, resulting in flowering the following spring. Due to its growth pattern and its dislike of a dry root zone during the summer it is prone to grow outwards from the centre of the clump. This leaves the middle with weak growth, necessitating regular division to maintain the vigour of the clump.
Due to the brightness of colour it looks out of place when planted in a sea of green. Doronicum is best appreciated as a larger group, placed with other seasonal flowers, e.g. the later flowering daffodils, the perennial honesty, Lunaria rediviva. Tolerant of shade and here watch the flower heads twist to face the sun. In bud the flower is protected by the green sepals which have a parcel twist at the top. On opening these green sepals spread beneath the ray florets enhancing the petal colour.
A semi double flowered cultivar also worth growing is D. orientale ‘Spring Beauty’, seen growing in the herbaceous border. Slightly less vigorous, to 300mm, producing large heads, 65mm in diameter with masses of yellow ray florets. Both cultivars have green stems with a white pithy inner, holding heart shaped, mid green leaves with a serrated edge.