I’m browsing through the seed catalogues that have been appearing in my mailbox since December. Apparently, the people at William Dam, McFayden, McKenzie, Stokes, Dominion, OSC, and Veseys all believe I have a greenhouse the size of an arena, or at least a chain of grow ops.
order a few packets of stuff that look interesting, but I doubt my order would
cover the postage on the catalogue; nevertheless, they keep coming.
overwhelmed by the range of seeds offered: twenty seven varieties of lettuce or
green stuff that looks like lettuce and seventeen types of carrots in all
shapes and colours. I don’t have a sophisticated palate, so to me
I’m afraid it all tastes like, well, lettuce or carrots; however, I’m happy to
try different ones, and besides, some of the more colourful lettuce makes
attractive filler in the flowerbed.
As for the flowers, I’m a sucker for anything
labelled as new. Is it new, or is it just a new name? The trend of labelling
things with something catchy to attract the consumer has spread to plants. Names
like Berry Smoothie, Tiki Torch, and Black Negligee make it sound more like an
interesting evening than a trip to the garden center. It could be so embarrassing
— PA announcing that a gentleman at the cash would like a flat of Black
Negligees. That plant is actually a new variety of
Actaea simplex. The common name is bugbane, which I admit isn’t likely to get the same attention as lingerie.
The Berry Smoothie is not a refreshing drink; it’s another new Heuchera, while the Tiki Torch is yet another new echinacea. This type of labelling isn’t likely to change as marketers have taken over the industry and if catchy names are what sell, then that’s what we’ll get. In fact, I read in a trade magazine that a garden center in Ireland has abolished the use of botanical terms.
No doubt the idea will spread. Granted,
botanical names are challenging, but at least they keep order in the plant
world. Poor Carl Linnaeus, father of binomial nomenclature, must be turning in
On the other hand, if goofy names get more people out of the mall
and into the garden, it may not be a bad thing, except a shopping mall, preferably one that resembles a greenhouse, is more attractive than most
gardens at this time of year.