Hello Spring, a Toast to Green and Lavender, and a Contest!

Spring began officially on March 20 with the vernal equinox, when the sun appears directly above your bathing suit drawer. Easter eggs appear the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox, causing items in bathing suit drawer to shrink. Astronatomy* aside, spring is about green, which I love. I’m throwing in lavender for fun, because I love them together.

So here’s the contest! Cash prize! The first person to write in the Comments who this is on this book cover wins a nickel:

Green: The History of a Color, by Michel Pastoureau, I recently found at the legendary (Off)Square Books on a trip to Oxford, Mississippi (a whole ‘nother story–see my Instagram #oxford). I had to have it. Being a green person is a bit like being an anchovy person, either you are or you aren’t.

With all those jungles he painted, Rousseau must have been a green person.

By Henri Rousseau

Here is a picture from our Santa Ynez valley in a rare state of green, taken the other day  on a morning walk with a friend. I want to paint this.

On my Instagram, taken on a morning walk with a friend near Solvang, in the Santa Ynez Valley, California

Ol’ Paul Cezanne knew from a green apple.

Green Apples, by Paul Cezanne

See the lavender in the shadows? Notice how in paintings the shadows are often tinged with lavender? They like each other, green and lavender.

Felix Vallotton, The Ball.

So what does it mean to love green? In a piece by Annie Bond, Your Favorite Color: What It Says About You, based on The Healing Power of Color, by Betty Wood, it says: Green: The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, preferring peace at any price.

As long as it is under $20.

Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient…

Wait … no I hate waiting. I am so fabulous. I wish they would hurry.

They are usually refined, civilized and reputable.


The Romanian Green Blouse, by Henri Matisse

 One of the prettiest greens in nature is that of new growth. Here in our vineyard, backlit by the afternoon sun, it is so clear and bright it can’t help but make you hopeful. See the purple in the shadows?

Vineyard at Rancho La Zaca

David Hockney does amazing landscapes with green and lavender. I would give my last Cheet-o to have one of his crazy-great iPad paintings, like this one:

David Hockney, from the series The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, 2011

So, here’s Lavender: Often chosen by a person who lives β€œon a higher plane,”

I do travel a lot.

…who never notices anything sordid and who is always beautifully dressed.

I wish you could see me right this minute. Talk about sordid.

Lavender people may be on a quest for culture and the refined things of life. A Lavender person is usually creative, charming, witty and civilized.

In the words of June Carter Cash, I’m just tryin’ to make a difference. But thank you.

Here is the I hope charming green and lavender garden room at Bee Cottage**, completely changed from its first appearance in House Beautiful a few years ago:

Garden Room at Bee Cottage, photo Tria Giovan

…and a little green and lavender nook of Staffordshire and Sunderland jugs at Bee.

Hall detail at Bee Cottage, photo Tria Giovan

And our bedroom in the City is, well, lavender and green…

Frances Schultz Manhattan bedroom, headboard designed by John Oetgen

 And ladies and gentlemen, the grand finale: Right here is a 20-inch Lolita wig with pigtails in mint green and lavender, which at this writing was available for $46 on eBay. It is a Princess Lea hairdo on LSD. 

lavender and purple wig with pigtails, which is sort of obvious, I reckon

To conclude, we’ll come back to earth with a parting shot of new growth and its promise of renewal and peace. In his Green book, author Pastoureau concludes that green, which he writes has a checkered history at best, “has become the messianic color. Green is going to save the world.” 

Vineyard at Rancho La Zaca

Pastoureau’s first two color books dealt with blue and black, respectively. Wonder what he’ll say about lavender.

It’s a little early, but Happy Spring, Happy Passover, and Happy Easter, xo Frances 

Astronatomy is the effect of astronomy on anatomy. The winter solstice in December, when diets are in retrograde and the moon is in the planet of cocktail parties, is one of the most powerful of astronatomical events.

** The Bee Cottage Story is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

The Bee Cottage Story, by moi. Photography by Trevor Tondro, Foreword by Newell Turner


  1. Love this. My emerald (fake, probably) high school ring sits on the window sill in our half bath. And I once bought a house because I loved the purple countertops. It was 1993, and there were other reasons, too. πŸ™‚ Together they are indeed beautiful. Looking forward to your book!

    1. OMG Deona, I didn’t even get into emeralds! How did I overlook THAT?! I love the idea of your I’m-sure-real-emerald and your purple counter tops. Thank you for writing. xo Frances

    1. CONGRATULATIONS REBECCA! Wow that was fast. Please send me your mailing address via the contact form, and your prize money will be on its way. Would you like one lump sum or broken into payments? Please do tell us what you plan to do with the money. πŸ˜‰

  2. Jane Fonda?????
    love the bright post~and I keep my swimsuits hidden in a dark place away from the vernal equinox….xoxo

  3. Hi Frances, Love green and anchovies especially when they are on pissaladiere whilst biking in Provence. Good lavender there too! Could that be Jane Fonda…? Do I win the nickel? Her eyes haven’t changed over the years. Hope this finds you and His Grace well. Bisous to you both, Rachel from France

  4. Frances, I see that Rebecca has beat me to it! Perhaps the fact that I recognized Jane and that my last name is Green will at least entitle me to an Honorable Mention! πŸ™‚ I’ll take the Hockney or the hairdo for a prize. When we were married my hubby told me it wasn’t easy being green, thinking I suppose of the childhood names of greenie and green beans…but we are coming up on #35 this summer so I’ve survived it. Green just works. Think of green and blue (ahh…tropical island), green and red (hoho) and green and yellow (birds, daffodils)…all colors are enhanced by it! Looking forward to reading the story of Bee Cottage. Linda

  5. i used to go to Solvang all the time with my danish wife kiki back in the seventies. we would stock up on her favorite Scandinavian herring dishes. loved the santa ynez valley and hope it has remained more or less the same. yes? ox T

    1. Hi Tony! And yes the folks around here are trying to keep the Valley’s beauty and charm and still be in the 21st century. They’re doing a pretty good job as far as I can tell. Love hearing from you – Frances

  6. My two favorite colors, although lavender or any shade of purple has always been my very favorite since I was a little girl. I love the combination and have used it often in decorating. I agree, Santa Ynez right now is so beautiful with all the green we’re
    enjoying. Can’t wait to get back up next week! Planning on planting some lavender too
    as it really thrives there.
    I recognized Jane too, but was late. She’s still a beautiful woman!

    1. Hello dear Judy! Yes I see you as a green person, somehow. You are right about Jane, she still looks amazing. One tiny cautionary note re lavender – it is surprisingly (to me, anyway) temperamental to grow, but I still love it. Take care xox F

  7. Pre-ordering done. Now if I can learn that patience so that I can endure the endless wait until I receive the amazing Bee book! And about the green….having seen my living room, you may have noticed that I kind of LOVE green. So happy to join you in your green-loving fabulousness.

    1. Oh thank you dear Smiling Water! I wish I’d had a photo of your beautiful green living room to include in that post. Maybe next year’s? xoF

  8. Hello Frances,

    Lovely and so timely a post! I love green and lavender or green and pink complimented with cream. I am actually going to re-do my small guest room in these very colours.
    As an aside, I just watched the most amazing documentary entitled “Tim’s Vermeer” which features the wonderful David Hockney as a consultant since he wrote a most interesting and controversial book about J. Vermeer and his painting technique.

    Thank you for your wonderful posts.


    1. Well please send us a photo of your guest room when it’s done, Sue. And thank you for the tip on Tim’s Vermeer. Have been meaning to watch it since I first heard about it – but had not realized David Hockney was in it. Ok, Netflix here I come. πŸ™‚

  9. Frances, I can’t believe that you ignored the greenest and most important holiday for the people of Savannah, GA, St. Patrick’s Day. The town literally turns green with tree pollen, and the citizens and visitors dress in every shade of green imaginable. Spring begins for us on March 17th not the 20th. You must come down sometime and see our beautiful GREEN city.

    1. Dear Diane, Well I know – and remember from my Beaufort SC days the greening of Savannah on St Paddy’s Day! Thank you for the reminder, and I will get down there next winter sometime to sign books! Always great to hear from you – Frances

  10. Frances, Saw you on the street the other day on my way to PA. to visit mama. What a treat to look up from my shoes and see you! *Green* with admiration over this article. Lovely! Much love, J

  11. Frances, Love green! My house is green and blue. Ok, I am obsessed with the photo of your green morning walk. Any chance you’d give me permission to paint it? Can’t wait to get the “Bee” book. xo

    1. Hi Creecy – and I would love for you to paint that photo, as long as you promise to share it with us? I’m going to attempt it myself, though will pale next to yours… xo F

  12. I know I am too late but as soon as I saw it I thought JANE FONDA! Happy to know I was right….I love that she has a cigarette.Funny to think I used to workout every morning to her pregnancy workout tapes! great piece again – the thing I love most about green is lavender.

  13. Frances,loved your pictures and thoughts on green and lavender,my favorite color to live with is GREEN,I have four rooms painted green and two more with green and white wallpaper in Atlanta.I love your new GREEN room at Bee Cottage.xoxoxMW

  14. Another lovely post, Frances—and staying true to your idea of “celebrating beauty in everyday living”—honestly with all of the ridiculous and negative everyday news, it is so nice to take a moment to contemplate the color green, look around one’s house and appreciate items we simply stop seeing because of the stresses of everyday living. Your writing is a wonderful prompt for all of us to take a moment and examine what is right in front of us. And in my case, quite a lot of green I discovered!

  15. great post! love the green pics-it’s my favorite color too! have you seen the living room with the 40 shades of green, if I remember correctly was at Winterthur?? that intrigued me so much. painting the lavender fields in Provence was a special time too, love purple and green! great taste-looking forward to your book!

  16. Frances, I live smack in the middle of North Carolina, and so you know, I have a rich, full life outside the internet. Saturday was, however, an any-port-in-the-storm retreat from ACC basketball. The thrill of victory is payment enough! I look forward to your book.

  17. Frances,
    Another “Satisfying Post’ with all my favorites! Cezanne, Rousseau, David Hockney IPAD paintings, Pastoureau, Matisse, nature, spirituality and that humor! Thank you…Sally

  18. I adore any opportunity to study color, and this was an especially good lesson. I love green too, and agree that new growth is the best shade of green. That Cezanne is remarkable, hadn’t seen before. Congratulations on your book Frances.

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