begin the begin: i let you down easily

1.13.07 i think it is important to say, at the beginning of things that i offer no easy answers. no sham prophecies, quick fixes or rosetta stones. a little botanical nomenclature, some verse, maybe a picture or two is all i will promise. i will try to cover the basics, but i will-let the reader be warned-be deviating from the strict rigors of the binomial system. life does not seem to follow such an easily quantifiable course. either this or this, sometimes it's not that easy. sometimes even in taxonomy you have to trust your gut. 'say it with confidence' my hort teacher always said, 'is the only rule in botanical pronunciation.' rocks, trees, skies, seas.
and a little latin. helleborus niger. hibiscus rosa-sinensis. aahhh.....
the spanish have a word the translation of which i do not find in my own native tongue: echar. it means to 'throw out' and it is used so hauntingly by the late jose marti in his 'versos sincillos'
'yo soy un hombre sincero
de donde crece la palma
y antes de morirme
quiero echar los versos del alma'
'i am a sincere man
from where the palm tree grows
and before i die i want to throw out
the verses of my soul.

1 comment:

me said...

how good it is to read your words. On screen and off, you are a delectible writer

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.