Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Enjoy Your Greens

Bleeding heart

I think the fresh bright greens of the new spring growth are unlike any other during the year.  The garden, the park and the woods are full to bursting with these glorious greens at this time of year.

Black Cottonwood catkins
"The word green is closely related to the Old English verb growan, "to grow". It is used to describe plants or the ocean. Sometimes it can also describe someone who is inexperienced, jealous, or sick. In the United States of America, green is a slang term for money, among other things. Several colloquialisms have derived from these meanings, such as "green around the gills", a phrase used to describe a person who looks ill." (Wikipedia)
Spring green is much anticipated and longed for during the cold, wet dull winter months. The buds and first leaves transform the garden, the woods and the parks at this time of year.

The new growth and flowers often add delicate perfume to the air.  I feel sorry for allergy sufferers this time of year because the new growth also brings pollen.

Fir branch with new spring growth

New growth on blackberry canes

Hazel Catkins
"A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower cluster, with inconspicuous or no petals, usually wind-pollinated (anemophilous) but sometimes insect pollinated (as in Salix). They contain many, usually unisexual flowers, arranged closely along a central stem which is often drooping." (Wikipedia)
"Catkin-bearing plants include many trees and shrubs such as birch, willow, hickory, sweet chestnut and sweetfern (Comptonia), and also some herbaceous plants such as nettle." (Wikipedia)
"The word catkin is a calque from the Dutch katteken, meaning "kitten", on account of the resemblance to a kitten's tail." (Wikipedia)
Willow catkins

Black cottonwood tree catkins

Pussy willows (willow catkins)

Yellow green blooms on Oregon Grape bush

Pine tree in blossom

Flowering Currant

New leaves on wild rose with remnant of last year's hips

The new growth is often quite fragile and will wilt or die with a late frost or cold spell.

Sayings such as "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" (life seems better elsewhere) and green with envy (Shakespeare described envy as the green sickness (Anthony and Cleopatra, 3:2) have to do with envy and covetousness. One can also be "green" meaning inexperienced or unpracticed. Greens can also hold the connotation of vegetables as in "eat your greens" and today green is associated with environmentally friendly.

To me beautiful spring greens have nothing to do with jealousy, envy or inexperience; they are the colours of rebirth, renewal and promise.
I can relate to the saying "green thumb" though, gardening is one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. The "Encylcopedia of word and phrase origins" has this story about "green thumb":
"No one, it seemed, knew why the Italian monk Fra Antonio could make plants grow so well in the cloister garden. But one day an elderly monk watching fra Antonio observed that he had a green thumb on his right hand, which made him an excellent gardener-the green thumbe no doubt, coloured by the plants he had been handling. This is a nice little story, but so far as we know the term green thumb doesn't go back to medaeival times. In fact, it is first recorded in 1925 by Dean Middleton, a BBC broadcaster and garden-book author. It is probable that Middleton merely popularized the phrase, which many people remembered hearing around 1910 and is probably a generation older."
First growth on Raspberry canes in my garden

Lemon Thyme

Fern unfurling (not edible Fiddle head)

Maple coming into leaf

Peony, new leaves and bud

Succulent, Hen and Chickens

Rhubarb almost ready for harvest


And this last "green" (above) I leave for you to think about, you can tell me what you think it is and I will tell you next Wednesday.

A couple of bonus shots, not exactly green but definitely some bright yellow, that I couldn't resist posting; these pictures of a turtle sun worshipping at the edge of the local pond.

I have been busy painting this week, I started a painting of a Heron but that will not be finished for a couple of weeks. I have been "bird crazy" this week, all I want to paint is birds, here is a painting of a Chickadee in watercolour.

"My Little Chickadee"

Thanks for stopping by, happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week .....


  1. I love all your macro shots! Beautiful subjects...Christine

  2. That chickadee is amazing. You certainly are a talented artist. Love all the greens. Green has always been my favorite color, all shades, but I especially like the greens of spring. I have no idea on the question, but will look forward to the answer.

  3. Beautiful series of photos Gillian! Nature has so much to offer in springtime, but most people don't take the time to notice all the beauty it presents to us gradually... one leaf, bud,at a time!

    Your Chickadee is outstanding, I thought it was another photo.. it is that good!

  4. Your little chickadee painting is very sweet and the green theme, of course, is perfect for this time of year. I see the color springing up all around me and it is one of my favorites. I read somewhere that green can symbolize a desire for attention. I can certainly see this in nature in our area. The evergreen trees overpower year-round in BC.

  5. You have captured the freshness and verdancy of Spring beautifully in your photos, Gillian. And the chickadee picture is just lovely; wish I had that artistic talent!

  6. Beautiful Gillian! Spring green is magical and what an amazing array of greens there are in buds and leaves . . . as your wonderful photos display. Our hillside is beginning to green again too. Love the little feisty chickadee!

  7. those first sprouts all are very nice. Love your paintings. I enjoy the herons and have a small recent post of a rookery I found of them with over 80 nests.

  8. the chickadee is gorgeous, gillian! can't wait to see your heron!

    i liked all of your photos of new growth and rebirth. i'm jealous over the rhubarb and berry bushes. :)

  9. Very happy green post! I love all the pictures and the information. Your painting is just lovely and captures the spirit of this friendly and charming little bird very well!

  10. Wonderful photos Gillian. It looks like I can reach out and touch the currant.

    Congrats on your Post of the Week award from Hilary.

  11. Hi GILL love what you have done with the background water color for the Chikedee

  12. wow, that much already? I envy you.

  13. So much to learn from your posts, Gillian! This week, I resolved to try to add the information on Catkins to my meagre but growing store of knowledge about plants. Like you, I see green as a colour of "rebirth, renewal and promise" although it was interesting to remember the other connotations that had completely slipped my mind. I was curious about the "Hen and Chickens" photo. Like many others, I admire your talent and love the Chickadee painting. Thanks for another great "food for thought" post!

  14. I love your chickadee watercolor. I enjoy seeing all the spring growth in your neck of the woods. It has struck me before that green has come to be used in so many contexts. I love the turtle shot. I haven't seen any turtles yet this spring.

  15. Great macro shots. Love your new painting.

  16. Beautiful photos and the range of greens is amazing. Of course, I love your Chickadee!

  17. So many wonderful shades of green. It is one of my favorite colors. I would love to live somewhere greener! Maybe one day!!

    Hugs, Linda

  18. It's wonderful of you to share spring with us. We have birds but no signs of greenery yet. Hopefully it won't be too long before the greens of spring arrive! Your little Chickadee is very sweet!

  19. beautiful! I love all of your pictures AND all of the information! thank you...I love to learn something new!!
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  20. Hmmmmmm.....first, it has little hairs....I want to stay strawberries, Swedish Ivy, or mint....maybe Lantana....there are little it's challenging:) Love your Chickadee art. Nicely done:) Enjoy your greens and the turtle shots make me smile. All my best.

  21. Wow! What a huge variety of flowers and blooms! Fantastic photos, Gillian! Really, really nice!

  22. The greens truly are special this time of year. I love your choice of topic and how your photos illustrate it.

  23. I just adore turtles

    Thanks for all the info with these amazing photos
    I went from not knowing what a catkin was to knowing all the many types :)

    I came to say congrats on POTW for all the beautiful blues below and got a bonus of green

    you have a beautiful blog

  24. Fantastic images, and I am in love with the Turtles, they are brilliant.

  25. Your spring is certainly worth waiting for. The rest over winter seems to gives plants extra vigour. Your watercolour is wonderful, love all the details in the bird and also the feeder.

  26. it"s just wonderful to see everything come to life!!

    those turtles are really sticking their necks out!!

  27. What a lovely watercolour! And the photos of all your spring buds are wonderful!

  28. love all that green ! love spring and your beautiful post
    have a lovely weekend

  29. you say!

    And your photos are marvelous...The color, the details...Oh...I LOVE IT HERE!

  30. Wonderful to see... the 4th image is my favorite... and yes I do suffer from hay fever xx.

  31. Gillian, gorgeous series of photos. I love the Bleeding hearts and the Willow Catkins are cute. Wonderful collection of plants and flowers. The turtle is cute and the chickadee is just adorable. Wonderful photos and post. Wishing you a happy Sunday!

  32. As always, I have really enjoyed looking through all of your photos. And, of course, I felt a little jealous of how bright and warm it is over there.

  33. Wow so much beauty packed into one post. I love the new growth and that turtle is just so lovely. They're amazing creatures. The chickadee is so spot on.. one of my favourite birds along with the heron. I'm very much looking forward to seeing that piece.

  34. Your words and photos are full of vital energy of life! Spring is the time when all beings awake from long sleep actually and symbolically.
    How gorgeous green you captured!!
    I love the legend about green thumb!!
    Have a nice week!