Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roses are Gray, Violets are Blue

For my local readers, it is old news that Minnesota spring has come stunningly early and with no take-backs (so far). My Susan and her gardening neighbors are bemused by the loveliness and earliness of the spring flowers.

Boy #1 and Boy #2 learned long ago that a few oohs and ahhs about the garden make their dirt-caked, bramble-scratched mother beam -- so they seem suitably impressed with this year's flower show. Good boys!

Presumably, Dave has also had the beauty hit his optic nerves. But he is, after all, the founder of the I Hate Gardening Facebook group (yes, it is open to all lazy, hard-hearted souls -- just search and join, if you must).

This year, the spring garden has exploded in siberian squill. This little bulb spreads everywhere and offers the earliest burst of blue. You often see it, to nice effect, in waves of blue in the lawn. Then it dies back in time to mow or make room for all the other flowers. Blue is a relatively rare color for flowers and it is my favorite -- tied with yellow.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking: What business does a dog have writing about the blueness of siberian squill?  Dogs are colorblind! No so, gentle reader. That is a tall tale along the lines of: it takes seven years to digest chewing gum. Trust me. It takes a day. Although I have only ever sampled ABC gum from the sidewalk -- so maybe it had a head start.

Back to dog vision. We are more near-sighted than people. But that is because what is right under our noses is the only thing worth looking at. And really, whoever needed to use sight to locate a strip of bacon anyway?

But humans don't see some stuff as well as dogs can.  For one thing, we see better in dimmer light. And dogs detect motion far better than people do. So stay still, varmints -- if you value your fuzzy-wuzzy coat!

Dogs are most definitely NOT colorblind.  Admittedly, we don't see the same spectrum of color that humans see.  We have dichromatic vision rather than trichromatic vision. Blue, yellow and many shades of gray are how we see the world.

"Instead of seeing the rainbow as violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange and red, dogs would see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, darker yellow (sort of brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue and gray. They see the colors green, yellow and orange as yellowish, and they see violet and blue as blue. Blue-green is seen as a gray. You can see what the spectrum looks like to people and dogs"  above. Psychology Today

So, I ask you human dog-toy designers, why is my Kong® RED?

Red toy, green grass?? Go fetch it yourself!


  1. So does the grass look yellow to you, Carmella?

    Fun post!

  2. Shades of yellowish gray is how you might describe it, I suppose. But I really "see" grass best in smell-o-rama.

  3. Dog-gone, Carmella! That was fascinating!