Breedlove Landscape Landscape Architecture The Glass Rainbow

If my children knew what I brought home from the junk shop today, they would disown me.  Not that it was heavy or big….no, my purchase would fit inside a coffee cup.  That’s the problem.  I love small things….and lots of them.

Always in a hurry, I was whisking through a shop when a box of tiny glass vials caught my eye.  Peering in for a closer look, I situated my cheaters and leaned towards the light. Hundreds of bottles, the size of a 2 inch pencil, lay glistening in a crowded heap.  Inside each diminutive corked test tube was powdered paint, and according to the label, made specifically for china.

Because of my horticultural profession, I am a wreck over plant names and colors.  And here before me, arrayed like a fragile rainbow, were shades of earth and sky.

Air Blue………really?  What a simple, perfect name for the childhood sky we all remember from our cloud watching days.  Air Blue….why didn’t I think of that last year when writing an article on blue flowers?

When faced with choosing a favorite color, I waver between pink and green.  Pink, I know comes from all those girly things:  ballet slipper pink, bubble gum pink, powder puff pink. But today the enchanting green names win me over.

Hundreds of green hues exist, and now I owned 12 of them, captured on fading labels.  Apple Green, Olive Green, Emerald Green; each distinctly conjures up the correct tint, matching its name. Sap Green….Hmmmm….I thought sap was the color of honey.  Moss Green, surely at the bottom of the garden where fairies live?  Next comes Brown Green; you’ve seen that.  It’s what our lawns looked like last summer.  Shading Green….the color of leaves in the shade?  Exponentially different than leaves in the sun, all garden planners know that.  Yellow Green is next, but not to be confused with Chartreuse……the charming if overused color of sweet potato vine, surely a remote cousin to Kudzu.

Meissen Green, perhaps the aristocrat of all greens, made famous by the porcelain manufactured and painted in Germany in early 1700s.  If you own any, you know immediately the green.  Finally Darkest Green rounds out the landscape colors before Deep Blue Green leads us from earth to sky.

If Royal Copenhagen Grey describes foggy clouds after a rain, what does Deep Violet of Gold look like? The glory of the sun sparkling on those very same raindrops?  Celestial Turquoise is a Santa Fe sky….I’ve never seen it anywhere else.  But then, I’ve never been to Sevres, France for which Sevres Blue is named.

Out of the ground, Chocolate Brown or Chestnut Brown, depending on your soil type, grow Primrose Yellow flowers, Peach Blossoms, and tender pink Sweet Peas.  At the end of the season, Ashes of Roses describe the last spent petals, drifting away til next year.

If your garden is lacking any of these colors, call me. Or better yet, buy some porcelain paints for an indoor garden.  Every day I am surrounded with the beauty of creation. Oftentimes I look for new words to describe the landscape to my clients.  I think my new porcelain paint colors will help.