Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Color Collaborative: April: Seedling

When I think about seedlings, I think of brand-new life - tiny, tender and immature. I imagine little shoots, or small leaves, poking up through the ground in early spring. There is hope in a seedling - it could become food for animals or people, or it could become a beautiful flowering plant or a broad, shady tree. It could help reforest the planet. Or it could be a weed that will choke off the good growth. A seedling's life might take many different directions.

I'm often struck by the way seedlings look, like miniature versions of the mature plants they will later become. All the basic parts are there. You can see early leaf shapes. The stems are slender but the roots are already grabbing hold in the ground. Most interestingly, to me, a seedling often bears the colors of the mature plant, sometimes pale and faint, other times saturated, as if the color needs to spread out as the plant grows. A seedling may change a little or a lot, but it already has everything it needs to become the mature plant it will be.


Consider the bean. Most bean seedlings look about the same, though there are countless types. Bean seedlings' first leaves are sort of fleshy, and may seem large for their spindly stems. The colors of a bean shoot are pale and soft, a gradient of brown and green with a fresh pinkish undertone.


Some seedlings look mature, like asparagus. Purple asparagus is particularly interesting, I think. The color is only skin-deep - the inside is the same creamy white as the inside of green asparagus. But the outside is a pretty blend of purple running to green, the same colors I love in an artichoke.


This blue spruce seedling is a neat miniature of its mature form. You can see the colors that give this species its common name - a mixture of greens, blues and grays that gives it a smoky appearance, and you can also see the tree's form in the feathery needles radiating from the seedling's central stem.


The marigold has a lovely seedling, I think. As children, we planted marigolds in school for Mother's Day, taking home a little seedling in the bottom of a half-pint milk carton. I still enjoy the way a marigold seedling changes color on the way up, magenta to chartreuse to lime, from root to leaf.


Some seedlings are precocious, doing mature-plant things when very young. This is a sundew, a carnivorous plant. Right from the beginning, it starts catching insects to feed itself. The seedling looks like the mature plant, brightly colored and bristling with tentacles and nectar glands, only smaller; it will grow big on the bugs it catches.

These are just a few seedling types that interest me. I'm very much a novice gardener, and I know I've barely scratched the surface when it comes to interesting things that plants do; even the tiniest of seedlings has its own dramatic and fascinating life story. Which plants do you like to observe as they grow?

Sundew photo from growsundews.com; other collages contain stock photos of seedling plants.

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Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa
Sarah at mitenska
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

27 comments:

  1. Jennifer, every window sill is covered at my home with seedlings for the garden. Such a wonderful time of year full of hope and promise of things to come, Mother Nature at her finest.

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  2. I love the blue spruce seedling, it's amazing, not something I've ever seen before. Such beautiful colours. I always like to watch the big seeds such as squashes germinating. It astonishes me how big even the first few leaves get. CJ xx

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  3. I love the way you've put the colour charts next to the photos. I've never studied seedlings that closely before, but I shall now. Like CJ I like to watch the big seeds germinate; they just look so sturdy, right from the beginning. I'm not the best of gardeners, so I like sturdy. Enjoy the rest of the week. xx

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  4. And there I was, thinking all seedlings are green and uninteresting! I particularly love that tiny spruce. And yes, there's something about purple and green together. Artichokes are such beautiful, painterly things - that colour combination always reminds me of our landscape here: moorland, carpeted with heather and moss.
    S x

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  5. I'm usually inundated with seedlings at this time of year but having given up the allotment, I have very few. At least I'll be able to lavish the few I do have with lots of care.

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  6. I love the moment a seedling pops through and peeks out of the earth for the first time. It is magic every single time.

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  7. Green is my favourite colour and you have given me a little burst of green and some fab ideas about what colurs to put with them.Jo x

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  8. And there was me thinking that all seedlings were green! What a dazzling array of colour you found here, those collages are really gorgeous to look at. xx

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  9. Hi Jennifer,
    Love the color collective!
    Is there a special app or program for pulling out the colors of a photo?
    What did you use?
    Thank you!

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    1. Hi Lacy, thank you. I made these collages, as I do a lot of my others, on a site called PicMonkey. You can add cells in different colors to the collage template. I just look carefully at the colors in the photo and try to find them on the spectrum they provide, then fill in the cells with the color I want. It's a lot of fun!

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    2. That 's so good to know - I was wondering too - thank you! www.daffodilwild.wordpress.com

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    3. Thank you Jennifer! You're eye for color & style is wonderful. Thanks again 😊

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  10. For me it is the anticipation of a seedling and that point when it first breaks the surface, like you say there is so much hope in a seedling. I love the colours in this post.

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  11. I love your collages! such colours for things I'd always thought (and grown) were shades of green. Lovely post. xx

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  12. Thanks for showing me some of the variations of color in various seedlings, Jennifer. I must confess I have thought of seedlings as predominantly green with perhaps a bit of white. Currently I am very excited about watching the green [thanks to this post I will have to check again to see if they have other colors :) ] seedlings that have developed from my Sweet Pea seeds! This is the first time in the many times I have planted Sweet Peas that I have gotten them to the healthy seedling stage, and I will be so thrilled if they cling to the trellis and produce gorgeous, fragrant, colorful flowers. xxxxx

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  13. I have never grown much from seeds but your post and and CJ's make me want to try some. I might get some Sweet Pea seeds like Gracie did and try those. I think the way you did the colors with the photos was very cool. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  14. This is so interesting! I love your photos. I remember planting seeds in milk cartons too. :)

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  15. I didn't know that about sundews – fascinating. I love growing plants from seed and witnessing their route from seed to mature plant. I do find it hard to discard any that aren't thriving and try to coax them all along, even though this means I end up with way more than I need and I end up giving them away. Sam x

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  16. I am always amazed at the strength of a teeny tiny seedling when it breaks through the surface. Your collages are lovely. Wishing you a happy weekend. x

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  17. I've just done a mammoth seed planting session, a bit late but hey. It's wonderful going into the greenhouse each morning to see what's come up. It's what Spring is all about.

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  18. Hi Jen, looks like you are having lots of success with your seedlings. Lovey post has usua :)l

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  19. I am so glad I hold off tender seed sowing as the UK continues to be blasted by artic air. Excitingly my hardy seeds sown direct at the plot are all up and through and a second wave has been sown. May 17 is my special date for sowing the tender stuff and I'm never more than a day or two behind the early birds when it comes to harvesting as my philosophy is to germinate, harden off and plant out within two to three weeks of sowing as I don't like keeping seedlings in plastic pots for any longer than is necessary. This is a very visually appealing post Jennifer. I remember lying on a granite outcrop on Lundy with my children one warm May morning and we used a lens to watch sundew catching prey. Amazing. I love the natural world in all its manifestations.

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  20. A very interesting post, Jennifer. I love the word seedling...and this year I have been growing lots of my own in the greenhouse. Wishing you all a happy weekend.
    Helen xox

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  21. So interesting to read about your love of seedling Jennifer. You are so observant, I don't think I would have seen all those colours. The colour charts alongside are genius! X

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  22. I had never really stopped to think about seedling variety before ... and now I have and I shall be looking very carefully at them in future :)

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  23. so many beautiful colours Jennifer x gorgeous x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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