Through the garden gate: Oh! Those odd names

Published 12:47 pm Saturday, July 2, 2022

You all know that I’m slightly obsessed with daylilies. They’re the perfect plant for hot summer days when I just can’t be bothered to work in the garden. There are short ones, such as Strawberry Candy, for the front of the border; repeat bloomers, such as Siloam Double Classic, that flower sporadically for months; and there are seriously tall one that are perfect for back of the border and statement plantings. In addition, there are single blooms, double blooms, ruffly-edged blooms, ones with teeth, watermarks, and beards. There are even some that change color throughout the day. There is something for the pickiest and most eccentric of gardeners.

Recently I’ve been thinking about names. Many plants have quirky common names, but I suspect that daylilies have some of the most bizarre. I asked a hybridizer how she came up with the name Alice in Londontown. She laughed and said that, well, her granddaughter was named Alice and she lived in London, so with a bit of whimsical play on Alice in Wonderland, she came up with Alice in Londontown. She’s named other plants Dances with Giraffes, Dances with Dragons and Lost My Marbles. Dances with Giraffes is tall, leggy, and sways gently in the breeze, so I can see how that name might have originated. Lost My Marbles? I’m not sure I want to know.

This lady’s names for her daylilies, however, are tame compared to many that I’ve encountered recently. Are you obsessed with bananas? Then you can have an entire garden filled with banana-themed daylilies – Bananas in Pajamas, Banana Fields, Banana Boogiebait, Banana Freeze and more. Are you more into the supernatural? Well, how about Evil Gnome, White Witch, Aliens on Bourbon, ET’s Scream, Third Witch, Garden Fairy, Alien Galaxy and Wisest of Wizards.

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Would you prefer a menagerie? Then you might consider Tigerling, Carolina Flying Poly Possum, Enchanted Octopus, Hooded Cobra, Aardvark Ecstasy, Blue Squirrel, Blue-eyed Badger, Flying Pigs, or perhaps, even, I’ve Got the Cat Scratch Fever.

How about a naughty bed with raunchy names? You could include Almost Indecent, Performance Anxiety, Don’t Touch Me There, Making Whoopee, Consenting Adults, Strip Tease, Nekkid Woman on a Tractor and Hanky Panky. And you absolutely need Crotchless Panties! Yes, these are all approved, registered names, and apparently some hybridizers like to push the boundaries.

My favorite names, however, have to do with that magnificent animal, the moose: Bruce Da Moose, Moose Man, The Moose Camped in a Tent on Tuesday, A Moose Fishing on a Pond on Monday, and, especially, A Tick Kissing a Moose on a Wednesday. I’m intrigued by these names, but I can’t imagine trying to market them or even worse, having these plants in my garden and having to explain them to visitors. These names won’t even fit on plant labels!

As I’ve said before, there’s a daylily for every garden and for every individual’s taste.

Dr. Cynthia Wood is a master gardener. Her email address is