In the second post, you read about using your sense of sight to discern shapes and forms of plants.
This week, it’s time to discover more about how you see color in your garden.
Do you know how you see? Here’s a quick refresher of your high school course about the eye and the rods and cones in the retina. Simply put, the rods are the photoreceptors sensitive to light and dark and to shape and movement. They allow you to see in low light and dark conditions. The cones react to the different wavelengths of light – red, green and blue. Their reactions to these wavelengths send signals to the brain that are translated into the colors that you see. The rods allow you to see in daylight.
Plan what to look at so you can compare the same plant or flower in the different light conditions.
If you choose a flower that only lasts a short time before fading, it’s fine to select a group of these flowers to catch several blooms in peak conditions. A color wheel makes a great starting point.
It can be fun to use a color wheel like this oneto put names to colors and to help you understand what you’re seeing. If a flower is not precisely red, as “red” is named by your brain, it’s fun to figure out which way the color leans. Is the color is slightly closer to blue, beginning to hint at purple, or is it reaching out toward yellow with a tinge that’s more orange.
Start learning how your eyes perceive color by looking at your garden in several types of light conditions – dawn or dusk, mid-morning and mid-afternoon on a sunny day, and some time when it’s daylight and cloudy.
Notice color changes with time of day. If you look at the green shrub next to the driveway at noon, it might be the light green tint, by 1:30 with a shift in light, it’s pure green, and by 6:30 in the evening, it’s the deeper green shown as a shade.
Once you’ve studied the changing colors of plants at a certain distance from you, start noticing colors when the plants are closer or farther away. Is the blue-purple of a verbena flower exactly the same to your eyes when you are five feet or 25 feet away from it?
As you explore and experience color in the garden, you’ll find that you become more aware of color differences and similarities.
You’ll notice how the blue shades in a nearby container call your attention to the blues in the salvia during its month-long bloom or how the rusty hues of the crape myrtle’s autumn leaves gets along well with the golds in the teak bench.
Immersing yourself in your garden’s color can surround you with joy and delight. Don’t wait to get started!