Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Genus Envy

The Real Thing:

Every page of the new issue of Hampton's Cottages & Gardens (www.hg& is as explosive as the 4th of July. My column "dirt", called A Rose is a Rosa is not about roses, fireworks or barbeques, but about the exhilarating subject of Gardener's Latin.
Sometimes the best lines go the way of an edit, so here is the first paragraph as written:

The mysteries of gardening are myriad. From a popular British blogger suggesting the only way to really rid your garden of slugs is to eat them ( just like escargot) to a Russian who had such kinship with the natural world that a 3" tall fir tree grew in his lung --- in our 21st century world any, even the most absurd thing, goes. Why, then, does a little dose of Gardening Latin make some shrug, others cringe but most everyone else look at you with genus-envy?

I wholeheartedly attribute the conjuring of 'genus-envy' to Lys Marigold's virtuoso imagination and add that mushrooms have the most graphic and provocative of Latin names. Those effervescent orange stick-like ones that come up under old trees (especially beech) at the end of summer are Mutinus elegans . Take that! And by far , the most titillating moniker goes to Phallus impudicus - with the nasty common name of stinkhorn - it looks exactly like it sounds. Whether or not it is impudent is anybody's guess, but of course it is a delicacy in France when picked au moment.

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