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 .....