CT Flower and Garden Show 2011

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Me last yr

I will be at the 30th Annual CT Flower & Garden Show today (Feb 24) serving as a volunteer for the CT Horticultural Society.  My role will be to introduce some of the seminar speakers, which by the way, seminars are held upstairs above the show floor on the ballroom level (and are included as part of the show’s entrance ticket).  Additionally, I will be at the CHS’s beautiful exhibit on Saturday, Feb 26th, from 3:00-5:30 pm, greeting show visitors!  And of course I plan to enjoy visiting the show’s other displays, flowers, and gardening items.

Last year, at this show, my Aunt Clarisse from Canada took this photo of me. Yes, Clarisse traveled here all the way from Quebec, Canada for the show.  She attended with my mother, who happens to also be her twin sister, Claire.  (They are both the eldest of 20 siblings.  Yup – 20!  But that is another story for another time.  No other twins in the family of the 20 if you are wondering.

A cool thing happened that day with my Aunt Clarisse.  Even though she doesn’t speak any English, and my French is extremely poor due to being out of practice, we both were able to clearly communicate about the plants at the flower show because of our familiarity with Latin plant names. 

Many people complain about the use of Latin names for plants because they are difficult to pronounce, but I was so impressed with my Aunt Clarisse as she said things like, “Ooooh, une Baptisia.  Voila, la Narcissus!  Ah, oui!  C’est tres belle – le Salvia! J’adore toute les fleurs ici!” 

Aunt Clarisse just loved the plants in the flower show’s displays.  And we enjoyed chatting plants or at least being able to name them by their Latin names without our usual language barrier frustrations.  In this case, Latin plant names saved the day!

We also understood that we enjoyed some plants in particular more than others.  Although she lives so far away, we knew alot of the same plants.  And, I loved the way she said “orchids” in french.  Sounded something like Or-Kid with a french accent!  But I knew right away what she was admiring.  In many cases, we were both speaking the same language about a specific plant, without confusion of the sometimes misused common names.    

I thought to myself, “Isn’t this the coolest? My Aunt is here – traveled all the way from Quebec — and we have something in common I didn’t expect, the love of flowers and plants with a Latin connection!”

About a month later, I received photos in the mail from my Aunt Clarisse of plants from the flower show and of her own gardens in Sherbrooke, Quebec.  She included a beautiful photo of her sitting on a bench in front of a field of lavender, or Lavandula!  On the back, she wrote:  Clarisse. Au Lovode Blueue. Fish Bay. Quebec. Fin Juillet.  Looks like it was taken in July.    I have had this photo pinned to my office wall all year.

Clarisse with Lavandula

Flower shows are great places to share your love of plants with family, friends, colleagues, and admirers.  Lisa, my older sister, is coming along with me today. She said she needs to “feel some spring” and break out of the doldrums of winter.  Don’t we all?  It seems to me spring is FAST approaching.  It won’t be long before our abundant snow melts, grass will green up, buds will swell on trees, and flowers like Helleborus, will pop out of the soil and say, “Hello, I’m back!”

I’m glad to be back at the CT Flower & Garden Show again this year to get inspired and look at what is new and different.  Why don’t you join me, us, and all the others at the show? Get into the magic! 

The flower show is at the CT Convention Center in downtown Hartford.  It begins today, Feb 24th and runs through Sunday, Feb 27th.   See www.ctflowershow.com for more information.  The CT Horticultural Society’s website is www.cthort.org.

Hope to see you there, Cathy T.

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