It’s All in a Name

I love the internet – sometimes it seems like all of human knowledge is out there, waiting to be picked, like an apple tree loaded with apples – far more than you can consume!

For instance – last weekend I bought, despite my determination not to, some more perennial plants. More plants means more digging and gardening and I have quite a few, so I’m trying to enjoy the ones I have for a bit. But, there it was, this spectacular tree peony, with a blowsy white flower the size of a dinner plate and crinkly petals so thin you can see through them and overall, so opulent that it reminded me of some decorators’ artificial tissue paper flower. It had a $60 price tag and a label that said it was a tree peony and a bar code. No information on how to grow it or where to plant it! No point in asking the staff at this particular garden centre either, as they are all young, enthusiastic, and so inexperienced they barely known to get the root end of the plant in the dirt.

So, home I go, and google “tree peony growing conditions” – and I get, with the first website, the skinny on where to plant them, when, (actually, the fall 🙁 hmmm) , type of soil, how dry or wet, etc. Everything on one page about how to grow peonies like a pro.

The next page I look at is even more fun! It has Chinese Tree Peonies for sale – with names like “A White Crane Standing in the Snow” and “Black Dragon Holds a Splendid Flower” and “Green Dragon in a Pink Pool” – How fabulous is that? Named by someone after my own heart!

You know you have really got something going when you are making something – a necklace or a bead or any other handmade creation – and you suddenly know it has a name. It just pops into your head what it is called!

Sometimes you start with a name, and it inspires your creativity – you think of this and that and what it evokes, and bingo – you have an idea and you’re off. Somewhere between here and there, it might change names, but that’s cool too – part of the creative process.

Or, like when we are selecting names for some of the glass beads for the store – you select a name to evoke how it looks, or makes you feel, or the memories and thoughts it brings.

A rose by any other name might smell as sweet – but I know that a tree peony called “Flying Swallow in a Red Dress” will get my attention first! Next time you are in a creative slump – google “tree peony” and then try making something inspired by their names. I know I have a “Green Dragon Lying in an Ink Pool” in me somewhere!


  1. jen

    Great Idea! I love the idea of finding a name and creating around the name. Maybe we could make a little challenge with this?
    You make something entitled – Green Dragon lying in an Ink pool, and I’ll make something entitled – Kamata Tapestries. Sounds like a fun little diversion.

    Let’s see some pics of your tree Peony. I’m about to head out into the garden myself, and plant some of the flowers I bought 2 weeks ago.

  2. I went out with the camera this am, and she’s started to blow her petals – so I think I’ll preserve her dignity and not show her off like that! I’m up for the challenge, however, Green Dragon Lying in an Ink Pool it is!

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