Yesterday, I worked in my garden. Why, you ask, would anybody work in their garden; surely that’s the gardener’s job. Well, in these difficult times, I can’t afford my gardener more than once every two weeks.
If I lived in India, the gardener would live, not very comfortably, under the house and would tend to my garden every day. But, Israel is not India, and in between the gardener’s visits I am forced to add a helping hand.
While undertaking the onerous and boring task of dead-heading the geraniums, I wondered if I might get some help from an ISIS member. They have a lot of experience in removing heads of all kinds. A few minutes of their time, with a nice sharp sword, would quickly relieve the geraniums of their heads. But, alas, once they get started who knows where they would stop, so I reluctantly gave up on the idea.
While preparing to maintain my geraniums’ appearance, and improve their performance, by chopping their heads off (note to ISIS, this does not work with people) I noticed a label tied to one of the plants. This label, attached by the nursery that had supplied my plants was curious; it had a name for the plant and the name was in Latin.
But why would a plant need a name? I am not going to talk to it or send it a postcard when I am on holiday.
The not-so-young among my readers may have recognised the title of this Blog — “I talk to the trees/That’s why they put me away” as a quote from Eccles, played by Spike Milligan, in the long gone but not forgotten Goon Show from the 1950s. Well, I don’t talk to trees and am most certainly not going to talk to flowers!
And, to cap it all, the plant’s name was in Latin. Why would anyone use a dead language to describe a live flower? Even the Roman Catholic Church, once an enthusiastic user of Latin in its liturgies and the preachings of its ministers, has given up.
Latin was originally spoken by the Romans. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant language in Italy, and then in most of the Roman Empire. And where is Rome today, just another city with a few interesting ruins. The devastation they caused while occupying the Land of the Jews has long been repaired, the forests they cut down have been replanted and their dead language replaced by living Hebrew.
Most of our food contains additives including artificial colouring and preservatives. In 1962 a single unified list for food additives was first agreed. E numbers (where “E” stands for “Europe”) are codes for substances that are permitted to be used as food additives for use within the European Union, for example, E100–E199 are colours and E200–E299 are preservatives.
If such a system is good enough for the food we eat, it could surely be adopted for the names of flowers. I suggest the F numbers. Just as an random example, F25-Begonia, F103-Geranium ………