I have always found being in nature restful and rejuvenating probably one of the reasons that I love plants and gardening so much! If I’m feeling stressed or just a bit overwhelmed with life I find taking a walk in nature is very calming and balancing. I don’t think anything can beat walking through woodlands in spring with all the hope of new growth bursting forth and being surrounding by all those wonderful shades of green.
The Science Bit!
So, where do plants derive their green colour from? The answer is from the pigment Chlorophyll. The word Chlorophyll is derived from the Greek words – chloros, meaning green and phyllon, meaning leaf. This pigment is responsible for absorbing energy from light and helping plants get food (through the process of photosynthesis).
What I didn’t realise (until I researched it) is that there are actually 6 different types of Chlorophyll. Mostly plants will be a mixture of type ‘a’ (teal-green in colour) and type ‘b’ (yellow-green in colour). In basic terms plants that receive lots of sunlight contain more of type ‘a’ and are lighter green in colour, while those that receive less contain more of type ‘b’ and are darker green in colour. There are of course other factors to consider, so I’ve included a link to Science ABC, which goes into more depth on the subject, in case you are interested and want to read more.
Just how many shades of green are there?
Quite a few it turns out, just take a look below where I have included a selection of some of my own photographs, illustrating the wonderful shades of green!
Books for Inspiration
For great planting suggestions and ideas for your garden take a look at the ‘The Green Tapestry’ by Beth Chatto. A great gardener who uses her plants for their foliage as much as for their flowers. Something I try to emulate when designing my own planting schemes. Her garden in Essex is well worth a visit – The Beth Chatto Gardens
I can also recommend two other really excellent books that explore the nature of colour in general and the concept of healing gardens. The first one ‘The Complete Book of Colour’ by Suzy Chiazzari covers all aspects of colour (including its use in the garden). The second ‘Healing Gardens’ by Romy Rawlings looks at how alternative therapies such as meditation and aromatherapy can be put into practice in our gardens and how you can maximize the healing potential of your garden space – whatever its size! Both of these are subjects close to my heart and something I will be covering in more depth in future posts.
One final thought, do take advantages of the ‘healing shades of green’ in nature whenever you can. Whether you are feeling stressed and tired or just need to calm your mind spending some time walking in nature or working with plants will really help to lift and revive you.