I didn’t much care for my fifth grade teacher – let’s call her Miss K. A large woman, Miss K bounced around a classroom making remarks that left a person feeling uncomfortable about herself. She even made the boys cry. Maybe you’ve had a teacher like her.
At that age – for some reason I was a year younger than everyone else – most of her remarks went right over my head. I just knew that Miss K did not like me as much as she liked other kids in the class.
Walking home from school one day (now in the eighth grade and about to enter high school), Miss K stopped and asked if I wanted a ride. I didn’t, but I also didn’t know how to say ‘no.’ So I said yes. Here’s our conversation:
Her: So you’re going to high school.
Me: That’s right.
Her: Are you taking Latin?
Me: No. French and German.
Her: (Sniff). Of course you’re not taking Latin. You will never need it.
Back then, I had no idea what she meant by that. I did ‘get’ the disrespect.
Now, some 50+ years later, I understand the comment. Thing is, it’s beside the point! As a gardener with a tiny grounding in botany, I sort of need Latin. Here is some.
This is what we learned in last week’s EMG class. Kingdom – Division – Class – Order – Family – Genus – Species. And I have to say, I’m glad I’m not a botanist! But I am using Latin…
Just so reading the Blog won’t be a complete waste of time for you, the more important lesson from our botany class was about matching the plant to the environment.
My example? I have a lovely place under one of my pin oaks that is calling out for hellebores (Helleborus orientalis). I’ve planted several different types from a couple of different nurseries, including one that I know for certain is hardy enough to survive out of my friend Lenora’s garden. As of this morning, they are all dead. Clearly the environment was not right for helebores. I planted some daffodils (Narcissus Icelandic Pink) instead.
And by the way, if you want to know how to pronounce those Latin names, the Missouri Botanical Garden site will let you hear the correct pronounciation online. Just click the microphone to the right of the name!