Have you been paying attention so far? If so, you might not exactly ace this quiz, but you probably won’t goose egg it, either. Here goes: take a look at the following perennials blooming in my back yard today and take a guess at what each one is. Extra credit if you know the scientific name. Mom, put your hand down, please.
(*note: If you’re a bit nervous and would like to try a qualifier pre-quiz to see whether the actual quiz will turn out to be an ego-annihilating study in masochism for you, try the following matching exercise:)
Match the term with its corresponding definition.
a. The kind of plant you have to fork out cash for every single year, only to see it wither and die by Halloween
b. A nonsense term created by Lowe’s customers in the North Carolina store where my aunt works
c. The type of plant that theoretically keeps coming back every year if you don’t manage to kill it in the meantime
pre-quiz qualifier answer key: 1-c; 2-a; 3-b
If you didn’t make it past the pre-quiz qualifier, maybe it’s best just to scroll through the pretty pictures. Otherwise, to the quiz!
The first one’s easy:
The first one’s a hint to this next bloomer, a popular perennial whose common name is an offshoot of Exhibit A’s, and whose scientific name derives from the Greek words for “beauty” and “day”:
I’m thinking you’re 2-0 now, so let’s ramp it up. Here’s a cottage garden favorite in the same family as a species used in a popular, immune-system-boosting herbal medicine:
Now you’re getting cocky. Try this one: Its common name is also a popular herb you probably only use at Thanksgiving, although the pictured variety is not the edible version of said herb:
And here’s another herb, one you’d be likely to stuff into a sachet:
OK! Now we’re moving into the realm of plant geeks. If you get the next few, you’re like the guys whose initials featured in the top three on the Ms. Pac Man game at Kroger: you are obsessed and probably do not attend plays and sporting events as much as other folks do. Here’s another favorite for the sunny cottage garden, just beginning its bloom cycle:
For your last trick, here’s one most folks don’t really think of as much of a bloomer, but this ubiquitous shrub from East Asia produces a cluster of conical white flowers in early summer:
A: Asiatic lilies (Lilium)
B. Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
C. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
D. Sage (Salvia)
E. Lavender (Lavandula)
F. Tickseed-a little-used, unfortunate common name (Coreopsis)
G. Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)