I’ve often wondered what it would be like to experience my life without color. From my naive viewpoint, I’m assuming that viewing bunches of black and white flowers is equivalent to . . . well . . . endless months of enormously cloudy days.
Color vision deficiency in its rarest form does limit a person to shades of grey as in the image above. But other forms of deficiency are not as extreme. Deuteranomaly, for instance, may be the most common type, mildly affecting red-green hue discrimination in 5-8% of males, and some females. According to Wikipedia, another more rare form exhibits a difficulty discriminating blues from yellows.
An excellent article on this topic is making its way around the landscape design community. It is written by Genevieve Schmidt. It appears on her website/blog North Coast Gardening. She rounded up research and then summarized recommendations to those gardeners who might encounter homeowners experiencing color vision deficiency.
A good recommendation she includes is—take the color-blind client nursery shopping. This helps the designer get a better sense of their particular color challenge and to learn what horticulture elements are uniquely delightful to this particular person.
The thorough article includes an interview with a color-blind gentleman, comparison photographs, and additional links. Also are recommendations regarding maximizing texture, light effects, variegation, layering, and inclusion of dramatic shapes. Optimal garden experiences might include elements that freely react to wind, and that favor the other senses with scent and sound enhancements.
Explore Genevieve’s website including her delightful video and “About” page. Among her other positive outlooks she says “Designing a garden for someone who is color blind isn’t reducing enjoyment for anyone else, rather it’s stealthily adding a whole new dimension of enjoyment.”
Nancy R. Peck