20 August 2011

The Power of Blue

Back in the 1980s a study was published saying something about why blue walls in home kitchens help people lose weight. So we painted our kitchen with a tint of blue. It was certainly a pretty color for a space where we spent so much time but it did not seem to help us with our weight.

Fast food restaurants love orange and yellow because it makes people eat faster. Blue is supposed to help diners calm down, eat more slowly, and feel full with smaller portions. A good tip for those restaurants that serve quarter-cup size servings of perfectly prepared dishes.

In college we studied color theory - the impact of color on mental health, etc. Sir Charles Lemieiux and Dr. Max Luscher were two names we knew back in the day. Now, there is information about how to make people buy from your website using specific colors.

How is this related to horticulture?
At the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) labs in Peoria, Ill., scientists are looking into using the healthy chemicals that turn flowers and food blue to reduce the number of caterpillars that eat food crops in the field.

The chemicals are anthocyanins, "plant pigments that give blueberries, plums, grapes and flowers such as petunias their blue and purple color".  Bascially, the earworm caterpillars were fed the blue part of the petunia flowrs and gained less weight. Cabbage looper caterpillars died from eating those petunia bits.


Here's a link to the entire article about Seeking Saponins and Other Compounds To Fortify Crops on the USDA site.
Blue flower projects How-To at Design Sponge












Blue flowers are more common in England's weather than in the tropics if you think about it.

Hydrangeas, pansies, hostas, vinca - blue, cool, restful, shade. Orange and reds - hot colors, energizing, can take the rays of the sun for hours.

So it makes a person think. Honestly, I think I'll keep my wall colors the lovely off-white they are now and rely on the views out the windows to reflect my love for all the colors in my garden. Perhaps plant more blue to be seen from the kitchen views?

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