Abbey Garden

My brain hurts and my back is sunburned. I close my eyes and I see terra cotta and variegated leaves. I try to speak and all that comes out is "Rosemary 'Tuscan Spires'." There is a slight twitch beginning in one eyelid. I dither endlessly about the drainage requirements for an ornamental olive and the prospective root run of an espaliered apple tree, and whether or not the Apothecary rose (rosa gallica plena) can be special-ordered from an obscure out of state heirloom rose nursery. I waste valuable time nosing around stores looking for patio lights and fountains. (Did I mention the eyelid twitch?)...... What could bring on these bizarre symptoms? Must be the opening of the Abbey coffeehouse and courtyard this Saturday. And don't even ask me about the ants in my hair.

There I was, on my belly, underneath the rose bush trying to shape some of the lower scaffold of branches. I spied a plant tag, and decided to shimmy closer to discover this plant's potentially exalted moniker. "It must be something old and French," I told myself. I got closer, ants running across the leaves that hung right in my eyes, and discovered "Gourmet Popcorn." Aack! What a wretched name for a lovely thing! If I were awake and in my right mind, I would begin a ranty post here about stupid plant names, and Oprah's new rose that premieres in December ('Legends' blah!) If I could be bothered. Which I can't. My eyes are starting to cross and so to bed to with me. Oprah's off scot-free. This time.


franny said...

My grandma's friend crossbreeds roses, or whatever it's called when you make one up. She named one after my grandma, so it's called Shirley Deane. Not a bad name for a rose, I think.

And not even popcorn deserves to be called "Gourmet Popcorn". There's nothing 'gourmet' about popcorn. Those little kernely bits always rape my gums and get stuck between molars in ways I didn't think were possible.

rosa said...

man, i don't know anyone who has a relative with a plant named after them. That is totally cool. What does it look like? Does your grandma have it in her yard? I picture her talking to it, calling it "Shirl, dear."

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.