I spent another couple hours on the logo concept. In Draft 4, I filled in the top and added the mysterious eye for the sake of seeing what it would look like. Kind of cheesy. The vertical hashes mean nothing. Empty design. It’s starting to look like a weird sea creature too!
I worked on the nurturing tree idea, by grabbing some of the old elements and adding a leaf. This I like better, though I’m not sure if “greek column” really is being communicated by the swirl. I may grab some books and research a bunch of ionic-style columns to distill the quintessential shape, but for now I kind of like the way this logo is going. I’m still using Arial Rounded, but it kind of works with this logo. Draft 5 is the first pass. Draft 6 changes some of the curves so they convey a slightly more vibrant feel; the variation between the two swirls makes them a tad more organic (not an obvious copy/paste), and the leaf is slightly curved upwards.
If I can’t think of anything better in the next few days, this will be the logo, and I’ll start picking some color schemes.