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The Naming of Plants


By kowhai


In an earlier blog, I commented on the tendency to name plants after the donor, thus ’Pauline’s geranium’. Pleasant though it is to have a border full of ‘friends’, there are occasions when it’s necessary or desirable to know the proper botanical name. With this in mind, I posted a query on Thursday, with a picture of the geranium. My mistake was to post a profile rather than a face on photograph, but one respondent was able to put me on the right track. Anyway, from now on, when I want to identify a plant, I know to post a face on photo, as I’ve done below for the geranium concerned.

There are other plants which also remain anonymous, or which have really bizarre names. For instance, Gershwin would no doubt be tickled to know that we have a rose named after his ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. This is a bit of poetic licence, really, because it’s more purple than blue, and like many roses, it changes colour as the flowers mature. (The picture below is of the first bud to appear.) This season looks like being a bumper one for roses, although I’ve had to zap the white fly on some. I always said that I couldn’t be bothered with roses, and basically that still applies, but we inherited some roses, including a vigorous though misplaced Kiftsgate, as well as the one depicted in the third photograph below, and over the past few years have succumbed to the attraction of the rose, despite some of them sporting pretty kitsch names. On reflection, I prefer to name our plants after friends, or to use descriptive names, like ‘the blue rose’.

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I just like using the old - fashioned names like 'Granny Bonnets' & 'Lady's Mantle'.

12 Jun, 2010


I was wishing someone else did this besides me. I name my plants and I prune them individually so they can fit into the scheme of things. After all a rose is a rose is a rose. But if you name it, you notice each plants' uniqueness. Clones aren't even alike. Now I have gone a little further with this. I have pots that have names. I have 3 ladies where the plants you put in them represent their hair. I've named them Elizabeth, she is the oldest. I loved her so much I bought two more, Rebecca and Millie. All the pots are the same, but they having different hair, look different and needless to say, bring a lot of laughs. It is a lot of fun seeing how silly I can get with this. When someone asks how is everybody, to my gardening friends, I include the girls. btw Rebecca is having a bad hair day. She is in need of a transplant. I had her with a Foxtail Fern, but a rabbit gave her a haicut. Millie having Chocolate Mint, makes your mouth water. She also has a succulent rosette for a cute bow. Elizabeth is wearing Creeping Jenny in two colors.

14 Jun, 2010

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