What’s in a Name?
I will admit to irreverence when it comes to some flowers. Roses come to mind. Not crazy about them. They are way too fussy for me, and they just don’t do anything for the pollinators that I love to have in my garden. Some bulbs come to mind as well. There is no doubt that they are beautiful…for about two whole weeks. Then what?
So you could probably guess how unexcited I was to be stopping at the Royal Botanical Gardens Laking Garden the day we toured the Niagara area during the Garden Bloggers Fling. Why? Because we were stopping to look at irises. Beds and beds of irises. Ho hum.
The good news is that it was one of the first stops of the day, and it was scheduled to be a short one. Ok, I can look at irises for a few minutes knowing that there was so much more to come in the day including a wine tasting.
We arrived just after a rain shower and after a brief introduction by the garden staff we dutifully headed to the iris collection. The garden is arranged in rectangular blocks, each planted for a decade in which the irises were introduced. (i.e. irises introduced in the 1970’s, 1980’s, etc.) Ho hum.
Ok. I admit that many of these flowers were beautiful and the color variations were interesting. But, again, what does the place look like in a couple of weeks?
What did catch my eye was this…
The names! I got a huge kick out of the names of some of these flowers! Who gets to name these flowers? (that’s rhetorical of course)
I want the naming job. I want the job of the people who get to name streets, subdivisions, creeks, and flowers. I just imagine that this incredibly creative and somewhat sickly-humored group sits around with a cold brew…or pitcher or bottle…and just yuks it up throwing names out left and right. And as the evening progresses (because they only work at bars) the creativity starts to ramp up and get out of control. I can just see them hunched over city maps or pictures of flowers laughing hysterically, until, of course, someone steps over the drinking line and starts to cry.
So now my curiosity piques and this iris garden starts to take on a whole new interest to me.
This is ‘Jazz Band.’ It does have a certain jazzy quality about it.
This one is called ‘Purple Pepper.’ I can see how someone thought it looked peppered. And it is purple.
But then there is ‘Wench.’ I’m not sure I see a wench in this. It looks very grandmother-ish to me.
How about ‘Penguin Party’? What? Last time I looked penquins are black. They couldn’t have come up with something more blue? ‘Blue Velvet’… ‘Blue Danube’… ‘Blues Brothers’??
I was completely thrown by ‘Total Recall’. The movie? Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone? I’m not seeing it.
I’m pretty sure I do see ‘Dark Fury’ is these irises. If those flowers don’t say fury I just don’t know what does.
This is ‘Supreme Sultan’. I just can’t get Jasmine off my mind when I see this one. Jasmine the Disney princess of Aladdin fame. Wasn’t her dad a sultan? I can see a yellow turban.
Finally, this one is ‘French Gown’. I can see the ruffles. Ok, I can totally see a French gown.
Several weeks have passed and now that I am looking over my Fling pictures, I wondered about the names of other irises. Some of my favorites are:
- ‘Alamo Joe’
- ‘Fatal Attraction’
- ‘Honk Your Horn’
- ‘Yippy Skippy’
- ‘Eye of Newt’
I would like to think that there is a story behind the name of most things. (and not just a drunken group) For example, Dead Man’s Creek. What exactly happened for a waterway to get this name? I can only assume that a man (or men) died at this particular creek and when the locals were trying to give directions, the commentary went something like this…”Oh, just go on down to the big oak tree and take a left. Cross the creek where old man Smith died. Dead Man’s Creek. Then go up the hill till you see the windmill near the burned out barn…”
So how on earth do you think a flower got the name ‘Eye of Newt’? Or ‘Honk Your Horn’?
For those of you who are curious, this is ‘Bargain Hunter.’ I’m not much of a shopper but I do love me a good bargain. I think this is one of my favorites. But where is the bargain? Very little use of color?
I just don’t get some of these names. I guess I need a drink…