Here is a guest post from Raffi, who runs the Gardenology plant encyclopedia.
I love going to botanical gardens at home and in my travels,
always hoping to discover new plant gems that I might potentially add to my
garden. No garden center can match the diversity of plants that most
botanical gardens have, nor can they usually have full grown specimens available
to show what the plant would look like in your garden. So when I see a
new plant that knocks my socks off, and leaves me wondering why they're not
grown all over the place, it kills me when the plant is not labelled, and I
have no idea what it's called!
Not surprisingly, some of the most impressive plants I've
ever discovered I first saw in botanic gardens. Most of these plants I
have rarely or in some cases never seen anywhere else. When I first
discovered the incredible shade of blue flowers on the Puya alpestris, or the
seemingly 20 foot tall tree covered in big puffs of Dombeya wallichii, my first
question was of course, what is this plant!?!? Unfortunately, too often
in botanic gardens, the answer is not to be found. You look around for a
label, and frustratingly find labels for some of the surrounding plants, but
not the one you're dying to learn more about.
Botanical gardens are great places to learn about plants and
discover new ones. I just wish they'd make sure that every single plant
was very clearly labeled, so that we'd never be left wondering just what the
name of the plant is that we are looking at in amazement…