Monday, January 31, 2011

what color is your honeysuckle?

On December 9, 2010, a press release from Pantone revealed that 2011's Color of the Year would be Honeysuckle, but I was not aware of this development until January 12, when Lion Brand Yarn assured the world that they could supply this timely color in at least eight fibrous forms.*

I was astounded. Sometime in the middle of 2010, I had read somewhere that turquoise was a really big color, but had not realized until now that turquoise was actually Color of the Year for 2010. And somehow I'd managed to weather the Y2K crisis without knowing that cerulean blue would be Color of the Millennium.

Honeysuckle was one of the first flower names I learned as a child, and pulling the blossom apart to sip its drop of nectar was a favorite summer pastime for me as a four-year-old at my maternal grandparents' home on the Ohio River. There I also dismembered countless daisies, made huge white rose petals into balloons to pop on my forehead, and played loud music on tall blades of grass.

While still loving the flower, I have come to view honeysuckle (it's NOT a vine but a climbing shrub) as an invasive plant. Last summer, I reluctantly tore out an infestation of honeysuckle that was harboring snakes and threatening to engulf our Idaho garage. And Cape honeysuckle (not related) was one of my greatest garden gaffes in SoCal.

But we're talking about color here, not plants. White, shaded with a delicate yellow, is the color I associate with the honeysuckle blossom, so I was surprised to learn that Pantone's honeysuckle (PMS** number 18-2120) is "a dynamic reddish pink. ... Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life" (from the press release of 12/9/10 cited above; emphasis mine).

That's a lot to ask of a shade of pink -- bright though it may be.

I was preoccupied with the word hyacinth in 2010 (still am, with hyacinth beans in various stages of development and hyacinth bulbs sending up 4-inch shoots in the front garden, but it looks like honeysuckle may be my "H-word" for 2011.

More to come.

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* LBY's names for these colors are: Honolulu Pink, Pink Poodle, Rose, Parfait, Hibiscus,  Lollipop, and Peony (this last available in both Superwash Merino and Baby Wool).

** In this context, PMS stands for Pantone Matching System, which assigns a specific number to every hue used in computer graphic work. Thus the League of Women Voters, with nary a snicker, specifies that we use PMS 294 Blue and PMS 200 Red when printing our logo.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License