Garden Celebrities

Today’s guest post comes from Renee in North Dakota.

Earlier this week my husband asked if I thought Grover needed to be tied up, since he was going to mow the lawn and Grover was flopping around all over the place.

Grover, full name Grover Cleveland, is an unusual, blood-red peony.

Cuthbert Grant 005

He is planted in close proximity to Beverly Sills, the frilly pink German Bearded Iris, and not too far from Sarah Bernhardt, a pale pink peony that hasn’t started blooming yet. Just around the corner is Cuthbert Grant, a red shrub rose from the Morden Experiment Station in southern Manitoba, one of the Canadian Explorer series of roses. Cuthbert Grant was a Scottish Metis who worked for various fur trading companies in Manitoba and who was involved in the bloody Battle of Seven Oaks, in which settlers and Metis battled the Hudson’s Bay Company. Given his warrior history I can see why they named a deep red rose after him.

We often refer to various plants by their given names. I like it when they are named after people. We had a hybrid tea rose named Harry G. Hastings for many years. I guess Harry Hastings was a famous plantsman in Alabama or Georgia. It was a sad day when Harry didn’t bud out in the Spring. Since we called him by his first name for so many years it was sort of like losing a member of the family, or a close friend.

Cuthbert Grant 001

Grover is a very pretty, old fashioned peony that is really red, not raspberry or maroon or magenta, like most red peonies. You can see him and Beverly in one of the photos. Husband tells me that Cleveland was the only president who got married while in office, and also was the only president who was reelected after getting voted out of office. Was he chubby and red faced? Is that why they named this peony after him? I can see why Beverly the Iris got her name, as well as Sarah Bernhardt the peony.

I suppose that naming a new plant variety is a complicated affair and finding the right name is important for business. I think it would be fun to name plants. Think of all the friends, family, and historical figures you could give a nod to by naming a plant after them. Were I plant hybridizer trying to market, say, a new variety of horseradish, I might name it “Tim” describing it as sharp and piquant, and an enthusiastic propagator.

What variety of plant would you like to name, and what would you name it, and why?

76 thoughts on “Garden Celebrities”

  1. Some weeds I would want to name John, Jerry, and Bert, no last names given here.
    A peony Adeline Birkholz in a rich purple. She loved peonies and purple flowers.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Morning! Lovely photos from your garden, Renee. I’m impressed that you know the names of your flowers and can remember them! I know what kind of plants I have (lilies, peonies, irises, etc.) but except for the Stella d’Oro daylilies I haven’t a clue about their specific names.( I call the big orange lilies Tiger Lilies, but I know they really aren’t as they don’t have the brown spots.) I’ll admit that for some of my flowers, I’m not even sure which color is planted where until they bloom!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I admit, I have always thought naming things would be a grand job.

    I always have a mortgage lifter tomato someplace in the garden, just because. The electronics as regular readers know are all Harry Potter characters. Our cat, Princess Beatrice, is named for Queen Victoria’s daughter, who did not venture far from mama’s skirts (although I doubt she climbed to the tops of apple trees as does our little miss).

    S&h is not a namer, he is a designator, hence the orange tabby we got from Ben is “Kitten”. Someday, when he is an astrophysicist and discovers some new space phenomenon, I’m sure it will be known as Purple Swirly or something.

    Gardening question: my peonies are just your standard issue pale pink singles, inherited from Grandpa’s garden and prized as such. This year, they did not bloom, just got pea-sized buds that did nothing. Ideas?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If this is the first year they didn’t bloom, it’s a little early to draw any conclusions. It could be some fluke in the weather at the wrong moment for the development of that particular variety of plant in that particular location.

      If they don’t bloom for two years in a row, you could think about digging them up and amending the soil.


      1. Thanks, Linda!

        I’m thinking the tree growth might also be letting less sun in and was thinking of moving them, but when should I do this (hoping to use some found stone to sort of terrace that area. I’m unfussed about tossing hostas around, but Grandpa’s peonies are another matter).


        1. I believe that you divide and replant them in the fall. I understand that peonies “resent relocation”, though. I bet the U of M extension service has good tips on moving them.


        2. I love the description of “resents relocation”. Yeah lady, I’ll grow here, but don’t get ideas about blooms.

          Somebody remind me to divide, re-plant and soil ammend these in the fall, ok?


      1. Oh silly me, we all know you’re not “sharp and piquant, and an enthusiastic propagator.” My mistake, tim, forgive me.


  4. Ben deserves a soy bean variety.
    Donald Trump gives lots of possibilities. Have you seen the joke poster of Donald with his hair that says “We Shall Overcomb”?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Donald Trump needs an exotic chicken named after him.

      Sad we won’t be seeing those crazy birds at the fair this year, but it makes sense.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks but can I request an oats variety instead?
      I do have an oats ‘Lot’ tag now. After growing seed oats for Meyer Seeds last year, this year some of the oats is labeled ‘Lot BH14’. It’s still ‘Dane’ variety, but mine is that lot number.
      (oats is under-rated; not much R&D on oats…)

      Liked by 4 people

  5. I think I have an Ernest Markham clematis and a Catherine Woodbury daylily. I think they may have come from a Friends School sale.

    Most of the plants in the yard, though, are divisions from friends or products of plant swaps, and I’ve no idea what variety they are. Some daylilies and irises were compost site rescues, and part of the fun is waiting a year or so to find out what color they will bloom.

    I have some Stellas, but I don’t think those were named after a person. The name is just Spanish for Star of Gold.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Variety of sweet pea named the Dale Connelly.
    All the possibilities for the Dale Connelly characters, Larry Kyle–oh, my.
    Medical day today. Have a good day nomenclating.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rise and Nomenclate Baboons!

    Love the pictures, Renee. I used to have a Beverly Sills Iris, but it met its demise with the Iris borer. I have been trying to find a rhizome to replace it. A true red peony is a treasure! I will now search for Grover.

    I have always had difficulties with peers named Debbie, Wendy, and Cindy–so the weeds would be named after them ala Clyde. As a child I was bullied relentlessly by my undisciplined cousins Leo and Paul, so spiny cactuses would get those names.

    I would love to name something after my grandmothers who were both accomplished gardeners. They were good cooks, too, so a tomato deserves the name Josephine Fern I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We don’t have iris borers out here, thank goodness. ALl I know about growing them is to not give them a nitrogen-based fertilizer, as that encourages them to rot. We use bone meal.


  8. This is funny, because on my way in to work I was just thinking about putting a rose in my community garden plot, behind the future landvaettir shrine, and wondering if there was one with the same name as my adopted mother. I’ll have to investigate at lunchtime.

    I enjoy coming up with names, including for myself–this month will be the 8th anniversary of my legal name change. I’m particularly proud of the names of the current clowder of cats: Saorise (Irish for “freedom”), Kameli (Hawaiian for “honey” or “honeybee”) and Hana (many meanings, including “grace” in Hebrew and “flower” in Japanese–granted, she turned out to not be very flowerlike, but another Hawaiian word is “ohana,” meaning “family,” and she completed the family when she arrived). Twyla, fka Twilight, came with her name, but the short version suited her much better.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How did I miss this word clowder until now? Thanks, CG…
      From The Free Dictionary: “n. 1. a group of cats. Clowder, Cludder, Clutter kendle or kindle of cats, 1801; a group of cats. Example: clowder of cats. Thesaurus Antonyms Related Words Synonyms …”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve struggled with remembering names for a long time, and it’s not getting any better. I do well to remember what kind of plants I have, let alone trying to remember the variety. So I’m not apt to start naming plants, or if I do, remember what the heck I named them.

    I like old fashioned flowers the best. Peonies, single hollyhocks, Sweet peas, lupines, columbines, and nasturtiums are among my favorites. And, of course, roses. I have five or six different rose bushes (depending on whether one that isn’t showing any signs of life comes back), but I know the name of only one of them. John Cabot, named after the Italian explorer, is a strong and vigorous climber with fragrant pink flowers; it has already been blooming for several weeks. Which reminds me, I need to get after husband to make a trellis for it – and soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have had good luck with tea roses over the years. I was very surprised to see that the major rose cataloges have changed the hardiness zones for most tea roses to Zone 5 from Zone 4. We are in Zone 4 and find them qute hardy for our region. I wonder what is up?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We got Grover from a Canadian peony grower. I will look to see if I can find the name. They had a tremendous selection of plants.


  11. I have a bramble that keeps popping up in the yard, no matter how many times I pull it out. It tends to creep along that ground and root along the stems so that it forms low loops. I think I will name it Envoltorio Tobillo (Spanish for Ankle-Wrapper).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I knew a woman who was shy, reclusive and lovely in spirit. If I had to name an orchid, I’d want to call it Beth.

    Alas, when I care for a plant the poor thing is doomed. The only sure thing is that it will die a slow, miserable death. Once upon a time a guy named Larry did a terrible thing to me. (Larry actually looked exactly like Larry the Cable Guy.) Since my plants always die, I should name a plant after Larry and then watch it go down slowly, consumed by aphids.


    1. Ah yes, the creeping bellflower. Pretty invasive, but I kinda like them, and unlike a lot of wildflowers, they actually last pretty well as a cut flower. As tim would say, I’m making lemonade here.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Snorting tea at the first paragraph, Renee! And I love “resent relocation” (under mig’s comment).

    Copying Linda: “Most of the plants in the yard, though, are divisions from friends or products of plant swaps, and I’ve no idea what variety they are.” I may take a mosey around and see if anything comes to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. i had a friend who in his pristine vanilla apartment had a fish bowl with three goldfish in it. he said they were named bruce. he had a hard time keeping them differentiated so he named them all bruce and then he was correct whichever one he spoke to. i liked it so all my plants are named mort.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m completely lusting after some Orange Splash Irises that I saw on somebody’s boulevard three weeks ago. Nobody local has them so I may be stuck ordering them and planting them this fall! Maybe I’ll have to come up with a name for them!


    1. From Schreiner’s Iris Garden catalog (Schreiner’s is the originator of Orange Splash).

      Orange Splash “This vivid highlight will illuminate even that shadowed corner of your garden. Its flaming cadmium orange hue glitters like polished chrome. The striking iridescence of this intense orange cannot be denied. The serrated edges of its petals perfectly set off the brilliant color. Towering four-branched stems easily produce an ample 8-9 buds per stalk.” It is $15.00 a rhizome. I have had really good luck with Schreiner’s irises.


    1. And my clicking finger is wearing out from all the Likes. As Jacque said, Baboons are ON today.
      I have some Hostas that I would name Flip Flopper. They started out as medium or large sized with ample leaves. Then one year, they suddenly appear as minis (leaves go from about 6-12 inches long to 2-3 inches) and the plant diameter shrinks dramatically. I think that one of them has alternated between “normal” and teensy more than once. Very strange and I haven’t found an answer from live people or the interwebs.


  16. Larry Kyle Tulip– a glowing sickly green
    Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty Ladyslipper
    Bubby Spamden Pansy
    Captain Billy Assalya
    Jim Ed Poole Forget-Me-Not

    Liked by 6 people

    1. are there reruns of captain kangaroo anywhere. remember tom terricfic and the mighty manfred
      ping the duck
      mike mulligans steam shovel
      mr moose the pingpong balls and bunny rabbit
      grandfather clock
      b b the sheep dog
      mr green jeans was the nicest man.
      that was what used to fill childrens brain and get them ready to become gbigger people.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. OK, just did a tour of the yard, and found the last of the Brazen Hussy Poppies, which I was very happy to see this year since they didn’t bloom last summer. Mostly I found how many lovelies for which I can’t remember their names, let alone who they might be named after. For those I DO remember, I just call them by where they originally came from – Patrice’s raspberries, Robin’s wild geranium, Karen’s peonies…


  18. nice job baboons.
    i had a a pre fathers day day. i got to go to the twins game with my sons at noon (great game great day) and get home in time to split duties with my wife to go and see the kids perform around town. i saw my daughter perform in the princess and the pea last week and my son didnt get to go because he was rehearshing to be the tin man in the wizard of oz which started tonight,. the girl who plays dorothy is un damn believable. 9th grade and wow. was annie at childrens theater but i didnt see that. she is phenominal and second only to my son in terms of the performance excellence level
    my daughter is in the community outdoor theater and enjoying it as the first gig she ever got through audition even though its not a major riole.
    i twell them i raised the to appreciate the arts n ot become another starving artist but do they listen to me.
    i love it. each has performances friday saturday and sunday then done. 3 performances on fathers day. ill bet a mom scheduled that stuff.
    my father liked hollyhocks. those giant flowers.
    i would love to do dalias some time. wont be doon. hostas and daylillies is my cup of tea this time of life. kill proff is the number one criterias.

    all named mort

    Liked by 2 people

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