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If anyone has followed the current thread on Passiflora wandered a little and has provoked some thought.   Apart form the very obvious ( Royals, Famous People, Plant Breeders and their never ending relatives ) do you know who your favourite plant is named for ?

Just who was Constance Elliot ( passiflora ) ?

The passionate mistress of a plant breeder ? Or just a name conjured up out of the blue ? 

Victoria Sponge

I just looked up William Rollison, who is a potentilla I just bought.

His name seems to be spelt in a variety of ways but he either owned a nursery in 1780, took over his fathers nursery, wrote a book on wills or was a baseball player...

Not very exciting. I might go out and stamp on it.

Victoria........well, that's a start..........I'm going with the 1780's nursery.......sounds right............ 

Don't go stamping on it yet......( unless it proves to be a baseball player and then you can ) And if you have anything named after a footballer.......kill it immediately


Well I know Kef has a Brugmansia called little fidget


I have just got the plant; Miss Wilmotts Ghost. Apparently named after Miss Wilmott, a keen gardener who sowed the seeds of this eringium giganteum(?) everywhere.


AJ........I've heard of that one...........any idea why "Ghost" tho ?  Is it a white flower ?  The more I think about it ( well, I use the word "think" loosely of course ), the more intriguing some of these names are.

Discovering a new plant would be thrilling enough.......but then spending hours, weeks or whatever thinking of an apt name...........?


Have you ever bought a plant purely on a recommendation, without seeing it? I did when I read that the rose Souvenir du Docteur Jamain was Vita Sackville West's favourite rose because of its intense perfume. Well, I bought it and I can't smell a thing, but the name has a sort of haunting quality about it and I often wondered who Docteur Jamain was.

So, if you want to know read on, and if you couldn't care less, fair enough. 

Docteur  Jean-Alexandre Jamain was born in 1816, the son of a well-known Parisian horticulturalist, Dupuy Jamain. He became a medical doctor and then a surgeon and finally a university lecturer. He published many articles and several books, including A Manual of Minor Surgery. He became the editor of the Archives of Ophthalmology and the Hospital Gazette. He published a treatise on the blood of the scrotum.

He died in 1862 and three years later was honoured by the rose grower Lacharme with his rose Souvenir du Docteur Jamain. It is a deep, smoky port wine colour and has the most annoying habit of turning ash grey if it meets the sun.


Anyone know who Nelly Moser was - its one of my favourite Clematis


 Just one more -Alexander Tom Cussons (cussons soap etc) made a beautiful rose perfumed soap that led to the naming of the famous Wendy Cussons Rose. The rose was bred by Gregory & Sons of Nottingham, and was intended to be named after Tom's daughter Marjorie, but instead she asked for it to be named after her brother's wife, Wendy as she bore the name Cussons. (I bet Marjorie was a bit fed up).


It seems that the breeder was one Marcel Moser of Versailles, so Nellie was probably a close relative.


Miss wilmotts ghost was so called because it appeared like a ghost after she had gone....

If anyone has a copy of Geoff Hamiltons' Cottage Gardens, he talks to a lady gardener from Essex,can't remember her name, but she wrote a book "Who does your garden grow" and gives information on lots of plants named after people.The author is named on the video.

Thanks all

I can feel a lot of extra reading coming up for me..........could become an obsession


Miss Wilmotts Ghost is a most amazing white/silver.



I like planting plants with names that mean something to me - have nearly all the family represented in some way or other ..... even OH, whose name is not very flowery, so has to make do with a BigDaddy hosta.  My Megan's mauve agapanthus are just about to flower for the first time .... my niece will be delighted


I rather fancy that 'ghost' eryngium, another for the seed wish list me thinks.


Hi Susie, Ive got that book I'll have a look when I get back home.  I know I read somewhere about Mrs Sinkins pinks and how they got their name, cant remember the story but perhaps it was in that book.

Yviestevie..........the "Pinks" are certainly worth delving of my favourite plants but as to all their names ???

I remember listening to Gardeners Question time when Geoffrey Smith was on the panel, and he said if any plant was called Bowles variety then that was certain to be a superior version of the plant. Mr Bowles was apparently a great plants man of the early 20th century with a nose for finding the best.

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