Osmocote Advertisement

Failure to Communicate


“Do you have geraniums?”

“Pelargonium or cranesbill?”

“Sorry?”

“Er, Pelargonium or cranesbill.”

“No, I’m not interested in birds. I want a geranium. Got any red ones?”

“Exactly. I was just explaining that what you call a geranium is actually a Pelargonium.”

“Then why don’t they call it that?”

“Well, it’s sometimes called a storksbill.”

“Like I said, I don’t wanna bird.”

“No, I’m just saying that cranesbills and storksbills are two different things.”

“Especially to their mamas.”

“Though actually, they come from the same family.”

“Look, ya got any red ones?”

“What I mean is that they both belong to the Family Geraniaceae.”

“Oh, Italians, huh?”

“No, it…what?”

“I know that family. They were on the cable show, right? Except they were singers, I think”

“I don’t know about that. It’s just odd, you know, that the Family name is taken from Geranium, the Genus.

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call ’em geniuses.”

“You’d expect it to be the other way around, wouldn’t you?”

“I’d expect to walk into a flower shop and walk out with a geranium, if I could get a genius to speak in English.”

“I mean, it’s one thing to name a Genus after a Family, but quite another to name a Family after a Genus. Doesn’t make sense.”

“And neither do you. I’m outta here.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. So you want a Pelargonium?”

“Are you messin’ with me?”

“I mean geranium! Geranium! I’m just telling you that what you think of as a geranium is really a Pelargonium. But you’re perfectly welcome to call it a geranium. If that’s what you, uh, want to, uh, call it.”

(Pause.)
“Get me the manager.”

“Okay. But she’ll tell you the same thing.”

“You mean she’ll want to sell me a bird, too?”

“No, she’ll tell you that it’s important to be specific in the horticultural world.”

“And that’s where I’m going to get my plant–‘Horticultural World,’ down the block.”

“Please. You want a red…geranium. Correct?”

“See? That wasn’t so hard. And a black-eyed Susan.”

“Rudbeckia?”

“What did you call me?”

“I, um…Rudbeckia?”

“If you think I’m rude now–”

“No! You don’t understand. That’s just the genus. Of the, uh, black- eyed Susan.”

“Another one of your genius friends.”

“Please, please. I’m doing my best.”

“I’d say you were at 25 percent.”

“Honestly. I just got my PhD in ‘Etymological origins of botanical nomenclature and its practical applications in the 21st Century.’”

(Pause)
“Really.”

“Family, Genus, Species. Honestly, it’s the only way I can think and talk about them. The plants, I mean.”

“Uh huh.”

“And, of course, Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class and Order. You know. Dumb King Phillip Came Over From Greece Smiling…? The old mnemonic device?”

“Pneumatic?”

“This is the only job I could find.”

“I’m not surprised.”

“Please don’t report me.”

“I want a red one.”

“Coming right up. Can I put a bow around it?”

“I think you just did.”

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - MarApr 2018

I often worry that my neighbors think I’m lazy. Yes, they may see me on my hands and knees, covered with dirt, and they may ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - Mar/Apr2015

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” wrote the author of Psalms 30. Something to keep in mind as we


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Family Gathering

My family is in the backyard. Lordy, save me from my family. They say that you can choose your friends but you can’t choose ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Dawn of the RhodoDeadDrons

As Ned crept up to the gate, he was struck by the eerie glow emanating from the yard. The last thing Ned wanted was eerie glow a


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - MayJune 2017

The day began with signs of gloom and doom. A new report from the National Wildlife Foundation said that monarch butterfly ...


questions

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

Which flowers can we plant that the bunnies won’t eat? My pansies and marigolds are all eaten.

How can I get rid of voles? I think they are doing a lot of damage to my bulbs.

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement