I’m grateful that when I began gardening, I fell in with a bunch of plant nerds who spoke not in common names but in botanical Latin, and turned me on to oddball mail-order nurseries whose entire lists were likewise written that way. Necessity was therefore the mother of invention.
I absorbed at least a rudimentary command of the official language of plants, and my only regret is that I didn’t learn even more. Now, thanks to the fun I’ve been having dipping over and again into the new book called “The Gardener’s Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names,” I’m further sharpening my skills, because botanical Latin opens up a world for gardeners willing to try learning some of it.
What can a gardener learn from studying botanical Latin? Ross Bayton, a former editor of the BBC’s “Gardeners World Magazine” created the “The Gardener’s Botanical,” and when we spoke recently, he answered that question and more.