A Rose by any Other Name

by Christine Breen

Lately I have been thinking of names. Names of flowers and plants. Those that fit and those that somehow don’t. A Clematis is a Clematis, it has the climbing delicacy in the sound, a Berberis Vulgaris is definitely Berberis-sounding, prickly and barbary. Although vulgar is going a bit too far. But there are others that seem like orphans with names that don’t quite belong. For example, Scabious. Does that conjure a pretty blue-flowered plant with small heads?  Or Rudbeckia fulgida? Nothing rude about the wild Black-eyed Susan, much loved by children, seen growing in un-mown fields of the US.

I know the strangeness of an odd name, because I sometimes have the same thing with my own. Sometimes  I feel like it doesn’t belong to me or I to it, because there are days when I’m pretty sure I am not anyone’s idea of an Iris.

I was thinking of this in the garden in Ashwood today. A last rose had survived the wind from the west and was standing in perfect bloom at the end of a long stem. The name of the rose escaped me. I tried for all I was worth to remember.

‘What is your name?’ I asked.  ‘Celestial? Juno? Cupid? Dame Prudence?’ Pink roses all.

But nothing would bring it for me.  (Note to self: write these things down!)

In the end I decided it didn’t matter. What’s in a name? A rose is rose.

Her name is Rose.

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