Some Thoughts on #TheDress and Gardening
|Keith Wiley's colourful garden at Wildside on a rainy day in July. |
It's here I learned the importance of how green can provide balance in a colour scheme.
A photograph of blue and black dress which looked gold and white to some caused a storm of controversy and a top trending #TheDress hashtag across social media last week. It even made the national news.
I put my thoughts to one side on how camera and computer settings, plus viewing angles can alter what we see, and had a think about the use of colour in our gardens.
My interest in this subject started not long after I'd met Threadspider. We were looking at a piece of turquoise cloth one day, which she clearly saw as green and I as blue. In that instant I realised how a simple difference in our eyes could alter our perception of the world. This was also discussed in relation to #TheDress, particularly how the number of cones * in the eye's structure can alter the range of colours we can see.
Apparently Christopher Lloyd was colour blind ** and he was often criticised for his combination of particular shades of pink and yellow at Great Dixter. I wonder how much his colour blindness altered what he saw in that combination. I hope it wasn't as drastic as it was for my red-green colour blind colleague, who always saw my pink and yellow checked dress as a muddy brown.
Over the years I've learned to keep any criticism at bay whenever I flinch at what I see as a particularly gaudy colour scheme, or the use of a colour I don't particularly like. After all, who's to say I'm right?
* = if anyone has a better written article on this subject, let me know. For example, the remarks about bees aren't accurate, and the accuracy of the online test shown can be affected by computer settings, but the general points made in this article are valid.
** = thanks to Catherine Horwood for the information.
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I wrote about Colour Theory in Garden Design for BBC Gardening many moons ago. I realised then just how vast this subject is and how many factors affect what each of us sees. They include: our education; what's in fashion; our cultural background; the impact of light, the weather and seasons; where we are in the world; our mood and other psychological factors; our experiences; our age; and a whole host of other things. It's endlessly fascinating and I'd love to make a full study of it sometime.