I just started my first horticulture class this weekend. After 3 summers of taking care of this garden I thought it was time to get some real education. The Morton Arboretum has a lot of horticulture and gardening classes, even classes leading to a Home gardening certificate. I'm taking the first in the Garden Basics series called "Plants" which is the pre-req for everything else.
So I thought, since it's the Fall and there's less stuff going on in the garden, to talk about my plant classes. Boring? Well I'll try to make them interesting -- and think, if you don't know this already, it's a free education.
Our first class was learning about the "bi-nomial nomenclature" which is the latin naming of the plants. I knew that the latin names were superior to the common names, but I didn't realize that you could tell so much about the plant just by the name. For instance, you can recognize if a plant is a straight species or a cultivar, if it's a variety or a hybrid. I didn't know that the "x" means a hybrid (normally 2 species of plants put together) and a non-italicized name in ' ' means a cultivar. I would see this, but I didn't really know when it meant. I did find out that my Judd viburnum is actually a hybrid Viburnum x judii -- the x meaning hybrid. Then we took a walk in the gardens to look at all the name plaques.
I feel so much smarter already!!