Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sunshine on My Shoulders Make Me Happy

What color is the sun? It looks to me like yellow and it shows yellow in pictures BUT it is a complex answer that involves how light refracts coming through the atmosphere and how our eyes "see" light and send messages to the brain. It involves physics, physiology, and tradition.

Today, I'm singing a song of yellow and happy and tradition! The color yellow cheers me.

The bird in the images is a breeding male American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis. The female is duller overall, olive and lacks the black cap. In the winter, they are all a rather brownish or gray color. This often leads bird watchers to think they have left the area but they are year-round residents in this part of Illinois. Goldfinches have that spirited bouncing flight, a lively series of songs and are common and gregarious. Keep sunflower seeds available and they will frequent your feeder all year. Grow sunflowers (also pictured) and you will see them perched up-side-down picking out the dry seeds in the fall and winter. They also like thistle seeds.

The landscape image has a great yellow stand-by - marigolds Calendula. The marigold is such an old, tough, common annual we may tend to dismiss it's attributes. Marigolds were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century. There are African or American, French, Signet and Mule marigolds. Every year there are new hybrids in color, form, and size. Marigold is an effective herb for the treatment of skin problems, an ointment for repairing minor damage to the skin, and sap from the stem is reputed to remove warts, corns and calluses.

In the 12th century, Macer wrote that merely looking at the Marigold plant would improve the eyesight and lighten the mood. I think I need to plant some today!

The other images are of various ground covers. Ground covers that either bloom yellow or have yellow leaves brighten shade and contrast nicely against the dark green of evergreens and other dark foliage.

We may not have bright sunshine everyday in our gardens but we can bring a little yellow sunshine into our space with the addition of yellow plants.

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