Oh yeah, this rings a bell.
Couldn't remember the name for a cotonesaster the other day for God's sake! What phone aps are there for plant names then Phil?
Philip Voice said:
I suffered with this too Paul - getting put on the spot tends to make things worse.
One day there will be an app where one could speak into a phone with a description and get the answer - saying that, there are some good mobile apps for plant idents around.
September 1980, remember it well, just started Nursery work.
I learnt myself, as my then employer was too tight to pay for my day release to Merrist Wood, despite my passion for my newly found industry.
We grew hundreds of different varieties, so initially I learnt not what the plant was, but where it was on the Nursery, since I stood them all down. Then, over time I bought my own books, and learnt not only where the plant was should a customer come in, but what it looked like in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Over time, 10 became 30, 30 became 100, and then with much hard work, 100 became 1000. If you do "plants" everyday it is easier.
Over the years, Rhododendrons, Azalea and Acers not in colour or bud also became easier, through growing them and working with them everyday.
I went to work for a Tree nursery in 1995, but only knew 3 Trees. When I left 6 years later, I knew over 70, or perhaps more?
The great thing is in Horticulture, nobody knows everything and I learn everyday about plants. I will never stop learning, and love our industry for it, for all are equal in it.
I always thought rubus fockeanus was one of the funniest... that, and Chrysanthemum superbum makes me smile! For some reason I have always had an ability to remember plant names, I don't know how, it just happens. I remember at college the hardest ident tests were the bare winter twigs!! Remembering what I need to buy at Tesco's however never ceases to elude me....
Paul Williams said:
Oh yes, that was a favourite!!
Gary Keeble said:For me it was Rubus Cockburnianus. Just say it....it makes me laugh
I can always identify that one from college days.....
Repitition is the key, and handling, looking at the real thing.
Personally I'd suggest going to the RHS web site and download the current identification list for the current exams, they are generally everyday plants that we come across but i must admit that the most difficult to remember are those that i dont have regular contact with. So Googloe images, take photo's and learn in bite sized chunks
Photos from google images are helpful but you really need to be handling and looking at first hand to see the differences that are not evident from photos eg. Lychnis, stachys, anaphalis - all look similar from a photo but are completely different in size feel and texture.
The use of the latin name is equally important as it describes the plants characteristics eg. Upright, Large, small leaved, evergreen, colour, low growing, ground hugging etc.Its easy to go to a nursery and select a plant by its genus name BUT for example if your looking to buy a Campanula you might want to know if is a carpatica, perscisifolia or lactiflora each is very different.
I often hear sarcastic comments concerning the knowledge of latin names but 'if you dont know what you've got then you dont know what to do with it'
I always have my RHS pruning and training 'Brickell and Joyce' book in the van to refer to, covers trees shrubs climbers roses etc and if you know what you're dealing with then you cant go far wrong.