There is a lovely phlox that grows in my garden, whose name is ‘Morris Berd’. Not only that, he is a particular kind of phlox, a ‘glaberina’ variety. Morris (I just call him Morris) is a lovely light purple color, and very reliable and floriferous. Actually, ‘floriferous’ is quite a word all in its own. Not to mention ‘glaberina’. Anyway, Morris’s name is so matter of fact compared to his loveliness, that it kind of cracks me up. There are many, many plants, of course, named for people, as opposed to the many, many plants that are named for places. I have another phlox, of another sort, a paniculata, whose name is ‘David’. David came in a set of three, but only one plant made it. I went through a phase of mad acquisition, and this particular mail-order company offered items mostly in sets of three. “Well,” I thought, “I’ll just plant them in different areas in the garden, and see which area they liked the best. I learned a lot, that way. Some plants are not the least bit hesitant in telling you they aren’t happy, and some are definitely firm about it. They just disappear. They leave town, so to speak. Well, the great thing to report is that one of the ‘David’ plants was located happily, and is very floriferous. It’s also white and fragrant.
I like white flowering plants enough that I’ve contemplated an all-white garden or at least an all-white bed, but it won’t happen. I’m too much of a collector to draw the line needed to create such an area. Besides, I subscribe to the tuck-tuck school of gardening. No grand designs for me. When we started this garden, we first set in the plants we had been carrying along in pots and which we sensed were just frantic to get into a nice, well-prepared bed. Then, amongst those plants, as we went along, we just tucked something here and something there, trying to consider compatibility as much as possible, but sometimes just for a whim.
Back to names, I used to grow a lovely daffodil named ‘Mrs. R. O. Backhouse’. This daffodil had a white perianth and a peachy-pink trumpet, and was very reliable. So I conjured up that its namesake, Mrs. Backhouse, was probably this very pleasant English lady, back around the early 1900’s, with an upswept hairdo and a ruffled shirtwaist blouse and a light hand with scones.
There are many other plants with people names. Lady Banks’ Rose comes to mind. Obviously an aristocrat. The horticultural world is probably greatly relieved that I basically have no problem with the names applied to various plants, but I can still say I think some of them are funny! Dear and reliable, like ‘Morris’, but funny.