Our discussion of the color purple has now tinted my domestic life. I live with my mother, who, although she loves gardens, plants and flowers, will take any shortcut available to avoid using a botanical name. The usual dodge is to point and say "the red one" or "the yellow one" and so on. Usually it works. But since the garden is densely planted, and since (warning: VBG ahead) my exquisitely refined taste, artfully nuanced color sensibilities with nary a color clash in sight, and love of harmony - domestic and otherwise- have resulted in the placement of many flowers of roughly the same hue and chroma nearby one another, there is bound to be confusion. While trying to get my attention to see a bird the other day, she called out "look, over by the purple thing". I looked. To my eyes, there was not a speck of purple in sight. "Where, where?" I kept asking. Again and again came the increasingly more annoyed reply: "by the purple thing". Each time, her call was rejoined by a similarly more annoyed "what purple thing? I don't see any purple thing". The bird was long gone by the time I figured out that the "purple thing" was a Lythrum. To my eyes, Lythrum is magenta, pure and simple. I told a friend this story soon afterward, and got no sympathy from him. "You, of all people, should have known that Lythrum is called Purple Loosestrife, not Magenta Loosestrife." Well, I'll have you know that I think most of you are color blind! And in this garden, it's not known as Purple Loosestrife, it's Lythrum. And tomorrow I'm off to the local Dahlia show to critique their color assignments. And I'll bet you a blue Dahlia I don't see one, nor a good purple one, either. But there will be plenty of magenta. Jim McKenney email@example.com Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I forgot to mention that the reason Purple Loosestrife is called Lythrum in this garden has nothing to do with the color deception suggested by the common name; no, it's because the loosestrife part is obviously wrong. Not only did I not see the bird, I had to make my own supper that night!