I’ve always been intrigued by the fascinating names that are given to the different species of hybrid garden flowers and none more so than those of the stately iris family.
I have currently appearing in the garden such soubriquets as Superstition, Pink Horizon, Blue Staccato, Love The Sun and, one name of which I’m particularly fond, Pass the Wine.
Several years ago I was attending an iris show and sale at the Botanic Gardens and was immediately drawn to a specimen with the unprepossessing name of Ozone Alert. I bought it because I felt sorry for it, I suppose. I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would go to the trouble of cultivating a bloom (any flower, to my mind, is a miracle of nature) and name it something so depressing.
I took the shriveled-looking rhizome home with me and tenderly planted it in what I hoped would be a good spot. I’m not an expert gardener and don’t necessarily follow the prescribed method for growing prize-winning blooms so it’s always a bit of a hit and miss thing whether anything will survive in the garden long enough to actually flower, and of course there are always those darned rabbits with which to contend, but the following year I was gratified to see one or two healthy looking buds and eagerly awaited their opening.
The result wasn’t extravagantly colorful, I have to admit, but it had a delicate hue that wasn’t altogether unpleasing and I could think of plenty more flattering names that would have described this unpretentious beauty without falsely advertising its somewhat uncertain qualities. Subtle Secret or Mysterious Maiden for instance. I mean, after all, give a girl a break! Ozone Alert! What kind of a name is that!