What’s in a plant name, indeed? I enjoy finding new-to-me cultivars at the garden center or spring plant sales that stretch the limits of reasonable nomenclature with their hyperbolic, fanciful or puzzling monikers. Kind of like my favorite example outside the garden sphere, a local company called Accurate Trash Removal. 

This season’s discoveries started with Bergenia ‘Fairytale Romance’ PPAF. The pink flowers are lovely indeed. But the most convincing “fairytale romance” aspect I have seen is that the blooms vanish rather quickly. 

Next I found Silphium perfoliatum ( cup plant) ‘The Holy Grail.’ This one is clever; I get it that the grail is a cup and all that. But talk about lofty goals! Brought to you by Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc.-  another good name.

And lastly, my personal favorite: Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) ‘Miracle Grandeur.’ Delightful as this plant is, I doubt most observers would reach for those two particular words to describe it. I guess “Cute and Cheerful” didn’t impress the focus groups? Perhaps there is a “lost in translation” spin from the Dutch hybridizer? As it is patented, they’ve got to sell mass quantities to make a good profit, so maybe that’s where the hope of a miracle comes in. 

Then there are the plants I haven’t run across yet, but their names alone are tantalizing. Or sometimes terrifying, as with Hibiscus ‘Raging Bull,’  described as “commanding your attention like a bull in full charge.” That’s more attention grabbing than most would find desirable. 

The Crazytunia Maniac series of petunias is both hyperbolic and redundant. If only these grew as wildly as their names imply. Sadly, chances are good the insanity will be running out of steam by early August.

And of course roses have some of the most over-the-top names of all. I’m thinking of you, ‘Sexy Rexy’!