Yesterday I had a play date with a good gardening friend. We took a drive down to Seabright Gardens, just north of Salem, which grows mostly hosts, ferns, and epimedium.
The photo with this post is in their greenhouse. Hostas all in alphabetical order. Nice. But what really shines at Seabright is their display garden. I’m not sure how large it is, but it’s large, and impressive. Made more impressive because most everything is labeled, particularly if it’s a hosta. Wonderful.
And as much fun as I had doing a nursery, plant-nerd, lunch day with my friend, what REALLY warmed my heart is what her son said to her that morning when she explained why the kids would have a sitter that day while she was going to have a day out with Mrs. Goodnight. “Oh,” said the young son, matter-of-factly, “Mrs. Goodnight…The-One-Who-Speaks-Latin.” Like that is my full last name. :)
When I first met this brilliant and adorable son a few years ago, he was all into the proper Latin names of frogs and such. So as I was helping my friend with her garden, I was laying on her the proper Latin botanical names. Well, the son’s jaw dropped as he listened to me, amazed that I was using Latin to talk about plants. Latin is for plants as well as animals. Wow! :)
Mrs. Goodnight-The-One-Who-Speaks-Latin. I like it! I’ll take it!
And I’ll take this opportunity to repeat how important it is, as a gardener, to learn enough horticulture Latin to know at least most of your plants’ ‘real’ name. Remember that there are often confusing and perhaps multiple names in the common vernacular that describe plants. If you ask for a plant at a nursery by its common name, there is a chance you will not get exactly what you had in your mind. However each and every plant is described by one and only one unique Latin name. If you use THAT name to ask for your plant, you will always get exactly the plant you are looking for.
I’ve got a nice list of Latin words most commonly used in horticulture. Learn a few at a time, and you’ll soon be smarter about your plants, and you just might be able to feel the magic of influencing a child without even trying.
I want to thank my friend’s son for making my day!