reticulate iris season

Rodger Whitlock
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 22:12:18 PST
On 16 Feb 2012, at 12:37, Jim McKenney wrote:

> In calling that iris Vinogradov's iris, I was of course hinting broadly about
> the "proper" pronunciation of the botanical name. Roger didn't miss a beat and
> picked right up on that.


Knowing the correct pronunciamentation of I. winogradowii (even if all you get 
really right is "v" instead of "w") offers a chance to participate in the blood 
sport known as rock gardening. I amused myself at least once by correcting one 
of the more pretentious members of our local club when she did the W thing. 
Thought she was being clever, poor dear!

It's rather like someone gushing over flowering some difficult treasure and 
getting the response "Oh, that old thing. Grew it and decided it wasn't worth 
garden room." Or responding "Well, you should see my double, white-flowered, 
variegated form."

Maybe I shouldn't reveal the seamy underside of the world of plant love?

> ...Two years ago I found myself among a group of people from the plant world,
> all of them new acquaintances. We were selling plants, each of us at his or
> her own table. When things got slow, we talked plants. One of the guys
> overheard me using the Latin pronunciations for plant names and bold as brass
> announced to the group that I was pretentious. I tried, briefly, to reason
> with him, but he just got madder and madder. 

It can get worse than being told your pronunciamentation of Latin is 
pretentious. Some gardeners think it's pretentious, snobby, elitist to use 
Latin names at all, mispronunciamentated or not.

I will say that Jim's Latin teacher seemed to have more success beating the 
intricacies of Latin pronunciamentation into Jim than mine did getting it into 

PS: "Pronunciamentation" I use this in speech too, and so far nobody's called 
me on it. Har, har, har. When is the next talk-like-a-pirate day?

PS#2: The Julia after whom Primula juliae was named was the daughter of 
Mlokosevitch, after whom Paeonia mlokosewitschii was named.

PS#3: I was looking at the entry on regarding Georgia 
(Sakartvelo) and noticed that it recommended one hire an armed escort if 
excursioning into at least one area. Brigandage is alive and well in the 

PS#4: I know I've drifted off topic, but hope a little comic relief is pleasing.

PS#5: I got the Index Seminum from the Tbilisi Botanic Garden, and what a sad, 
sorry affair it was. Not one of the beautiful native plants that are so rare in 
cultivation was listed. I gather that like many other such institutions 
throughout the former USSR, it is seriously underfunded and has fallen on hard 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Z. 7-8, cool Mediterranean climate

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