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June 24, 2012


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Well, I had thought/hoped DNA analysis would simplify the process, but apparently not. https://sharepoint.cahnrs.wsu.edu/blogs/urbanhort/archive/2012/07/02/a-rose-by-any-other-name--1.aspx

valerie Easton

Thanks, Daria, for your perspective. I've gotten pretty beaten up for misinterpreting the changes as being more profound than others, more expert than I, believe them to be....I deleted a rude comment that suggested I take a reading comprehension class! But I still feel like the rules are relaxing, and yes, the changes are so confusing we may all be using common names more often. The point is communication, after all...and distinguishing between plants...


The frequent changing around of the Latin names is going to dilute the efficacy of botanical Latin. One of the editors of the newest version of the Sunset Garden Book compares it to how often Lady Gaga changes her outfits, but you'll probably always be able to find it if you look for Toad lily.


Tomatoe...Toomatoo! :)Well, you know what I mean!! :)

valerie Easton

Hi Gordon,
I'm stuck on the phrase "English names are acceptable" - even though a plant will still officially be named in Latin (which is descriptive as well as necessary to distinguish that plant from others). But trademark and other commercial names have diluted the efficiency of botanical Latin - it's so difficult now to tell if a plant is really new/unique. And once English names are acceptable, even in a definition, won't that open the door for people to use the names they're more comfortable with? We'll see how it evolves...thanks for writing,

Gordon Taylor

Daniel is right, Valerie. I've just looked it up at Scientific American, and it seems that before this any discoverer of a new species actually had to write the description of his discovery in Latin. (!!!--I never knew.) Now they don't. But the name of the new species will still be in botanical Latin.

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New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.


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