latin for the accidental gardener

Christianson Nursery, Mt. Vernon, WA photo – l. fowler

Not often do gardeners have the opportunity to bring something back to life.

Latin is now considered a dead language, meaning it’s still used in specific contexts, but does not have any native speakers

How do you say Gardener in Latin? quia hortulanus esset sounds so sophisticated! Gardeners speak horticultural Latin daily without much thought. Many common names are one in the same with their scientific moniker. But why bother with the Latin when common names are so much easier to remember. I cant say it any better than Lorraine Harrison in her book Latin for Gardeners:

“(Latin) far from being an esoteric or archaic language, when used appropriately botanical Latin can become a practical tool for creating a beautiful, productive, and thriving garden that is quite as useful as a sharp pair of secateurs or a well made trowel…the gardener will benefit from understanding the wealth of information that is hitherto lain hidden within the mysterious world of Latin Names.”

word of the day

abies a-bees

any conifer in the genus of Abies; fir tree

Abies koreana photo – l. fowler

Firs are a genus of 48–56 species of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range. Firs are most closely related to the genus Cedrus.


  1. Latin for Gardeners, Lorraine Harrison, University of Chicago Press

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