My mother was a brilliant gardener and she was also adept at remembering the Latin words for plants. Again, some come easily to me. A few weeks ago I planted some Hordeum Jubatum seeds. This is an ornamental grass also known as squirrel tail grass. Although it doesn't look like much at the moment (my husband keeps likening it to twitch grass), it should (if it stops raining and doesn't drown!), develop beautiful, feathery, pink fronds which glisten in the light. I find these two Latin words Hordeum which means barley and Jubatum - crested, quite easy to recall. I also have a lovely, small flowered, palest pink fuchsia called Magellanica Alba which trips off the tongue. But in my front garden I have a swathe of snapdragons.
And lately I have been struggling to recall their Latin name, Antirrinhum, which I have known for ages. Is this the first sign of a memory problem I fret, as words which I have known for years suddenly play hide and seek? Or is it just that I have too many other things swirling around in my head. I hope it is the latter.
At the moment I am reading a wonderful book, actually probably one of my favourite books of all time.
I first read A Gathering Light a few years ago and on a second reading it is just as wonderful. The main character, Mattie, loves words. She tries to learn a new word every day and most of the chapter headings are words - 'som-nif-er-ous, de-his-cence, ico-sa-he-dron', fabulous, wrap-around the tongue words. Mattie is a perfectly drawn character. For a writer she is a masterclass in how to not only build your characters in depth but also how to give them a strong, authentic voice.
I'm not learning a new word every day but my task for this week is to memorise the Latin name for my pink cow parsley.
Chaerophyllum hirsutum Roseum. Hmm! Could be a tall order but like Chris Evans and like the character of Mattie in A Gathering Light, I know that I'll never stop loving words and trying to learn new ones.
Thank-you for reading and I hope you have a week filled with heart-warming words.