Green Shoots of Springtime

Nature has more shades of green than we can envisage

Nature has more shades of green than we can envisage

We mark the end of winter and herald the coming of spring, as the land around us starts at last to turn green again.

Green is the colour of nature, the colour of plants… plants are green because of the chlorophyll in their cells which converts the sun’s golden energy into the transformative power of growth and change, inside each seed and indeed every cell a miracle is taking place thanks to this clever molecule. The green chlorophyll rich foods improve physical stamina which is especially good for growing children but try telling them brocolli is yummy and good for them .Wearing green can create a feeling of calm and balance just like the restorative affects after a long walk in the countryside.Wear it to be caring and sharing with friends (like friends of the earth)

This greening of the new growth manifests itself in so many different shades, it’s amazing. All plants are green – but think of the spectrum from bright grass shoots, tingling citrusy limes, dusky olive greens or dark perennial needles. Even amongst the leaves of any single tree you can see so many different tones and shades, there is a green for every occasion and every skintone – but as in nature they often combine very successfully with one another.

Even the word green comes from the old English word grene, - like the German word grün, this has the same root as the words grass and grow. Throughout history it has had this meaning in many influential cultures, such as the ancient Egyptians who celebrated the return of greenness and fertility that came with the flooding of the Nile each year. This was depended upon absolutely in a country without rainfall, and the hieroglyph for green was denoted by a papyrus sprout. The green mineral malachite was used extensively in scarabs and other ornamentation, and also associated with the sea – with which all life-giving water was ultimately associated.

Curiously though in other cultures despite the universal association of green shoots and life-giving crops, green receives less distinct attention. In Ancient Greece for example, green and blue were sometimes considered the same color, and the same word sometimes described the color of the sea and the color of trees.

Perhaps the natural phenomenon of green was less apparent in low-rainfall Mediterranean cultures, other than in Egypt when triggered abruptly by annual flooding, than in the Northern European climates of lush well-watered climes? Rather like the fabled 100 Inuit words for snow… In many modern and ancient south-east Asian languages too, a single character or word indicates both green and blue, which are subject to descriptive modifiers if you want to be specific about which shade

Of course whilst green stands for healthy and welcome growth in the springtime, it can also have less positive associations such as the growth of mould and putrefaction, and illness/nausea. Green can be connected with youthful naiveté, or an unreadiness, lack of ripeness or maturity. Thanks to the fateful warnings of Shakespeare’s Iago we also have a very English cultural association of the colour green with envy – the ‘green eyed monster’ in question commonly understood to be a cat toying playfully with its prey.

But spring is coming! And we can forget the negativity and focus on the glory and abundance of the greenness that is starting to return to our horizons. As shoots of bulbs burst through mud and snow, the lawns and fields turn fresh and clean, and new leaves and buds return to the trees.

Is it time for your wardrobe and look to embrace the green of the new season? Look out in the shops this year for striking bright emerald greens, a yellowy but muted linden shade, and dusky grey lichen green which is ideal for cooler skintones. Whilst block colours are striking, remember as in nature you can mix your greens up beautifully with contrasting or harmonious shades, to create your own unique springtime palette.


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