Quizical Christmas Times For An Irish Gardener

ní thigim...?

Nollaig Shona...!

It’s a funny situation when as a ‘gardener’ [?] for a living – the Summer Christmas holidays come around…. It’s the one day of the year when I try and rest my brain, horticulturally 😉

I buy the Irish Times. It sits there…. I pick it up… I put it back down and like a child with 20 selection boxes sitting under a tree…. I know I shouldn’t but, I pick up the magazine section again. The reason for my hesitation… one woman. One with simply too many questions…. Jane Powers.

I look puzzled as the guests arrive and start to query my puzzled look. Eventaully, I explain….

It’s Jane. Same thing as last year. But this year it’s worse. ?! Now it’s question 35…….. What do Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ have in common….?

...with lilly

...with lily

And this year The Ultimate gardening Quiz returns on December 19th. Mark your calender. This is one that I never miss….

Think you got what it takes…. ? Try the questions [see below] from last years…….. 😉

If you don’t know Jane Powers…. [This is the World Wide Web after all…] She has been writing about gardens and gardening in the Irish Times since 1995, contributing a weekly gardening column since February 1997 amongst many other publications; an Irish inspector for the Good Gardens Guide, and has been a judge for several garden competitions in Ireland.

She is presently working on a book for gardeners (both experienced and new) who wish to manage their spaces in an environmentally-friendly manner, with as gentle as possible an impact on the earth. The book, which she is illustrated with her own photos, will be published by Frances Lincoln in 2010.

The 2008 Christmas Quiz

  1. Which one of these hedging plants keeps its dead leaves on the branches over winter: beech, hawthorn, blackthorn?
  2. What seasonal, festive plant is a parasite of trees?
  3. Which of these garden creatures is not a vegetarian: aphid, snail, spider?
  4. Which spring flower shares the same name as the young man in Greek mythology who fancied himself so much that he spent his entire time gazing at his reflection in a pool?
  5. Where in Ireland will you find the highest box hedges in the world?
  6. What is the best way of propagating carrots: by division, by seed, or by semi-ripe cuttings?
  7. What is the genus name of the rabbit-eared flower in the photo?
  8. Fresh grass clippings should be added to the compost heap to supply extra carbon. True or false?
  9. On what kind of a plant would you be likely to find an awn?
  10. What is remarkable about the appearance of these potato varieties: Arran Victory, Edzell Blue and Congo?
  11. What shrub is commonly known as “Christmas box”?
  12. This year, 2008, we celebrated which of these occurrences: the United Nation’s Year of the Potato, the Pan-European Parsnip Party, or the All-Ireland Cabbage and Kale Carnival?
  13. What is an “eyecatcher”? Is it: a Himalayan plant with pernicious thorns; an implement for taking the eyes out of potato tubers; or an architectural feature on a distant hill?
  14. The petals of which of these flowers is not edible: viola, nasturtium, buttercup?
  15. Pomes and drupes are both kinds of what particular botanical item?
  16. What is the name of the garden with the Italianate pond in the photo?
  17. The flower of the dragon arum (Dracunculus vulgaris) has a distinctive smell. How would you describe it?
  18. Why does it smell that way?
  19. What characteristic do the following plants share: Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’, Ranunculus ficaria ‘Brazen Hussy’ and Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’?
  20. In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge suggests that every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips, should be “boiled with his own pudding”, and buried with a stake through his heart. Of what plant does he recommend that the stake be made?
  21. Which part of the plant does the larva of the vine weevil consume?
  22. What is a fruit cage? Is it: an enclosure to protect berrying plants from birds; a climbing frame for strawberries; or a device for isolating bad apples?
  23. Verbena bonariensis is one of the most popular garden plants of the last decade. What does “bonariensis” mean?
  24. What do the following plants have in common: Cornus, Nepeta, Equisetum and Arisarum proboscideum?
  25. What is the common name of the spiny flower in the photo?
  26. What two seasonal plants combine to make the anagram “little me, so holy”?
  27. If you were to “harden off” a plant, what would that mean?
  28. Name the designer whose garden won “Best Show Garden” at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
  29. What is another name for the pedicel?
  30. Which of these food crops is it customary to propagate asexually: lettuce, potato, parsnip or pea?
  31. What does the Latin epithet “alpina” (or “alpinus”, or “alpinum”) mean in a plant name – as in Celmisia alpina?
  32. Raceme, corymb, panicle and spike refer to what part of a plant?
  33. What is the common name of the presently ubiquitous plant, Euphorbia pulcherrima?
  34. “Poems are made by fools like me,/But only God can make a tree.” These are the last two lines of a famous poem. What are the first two lines?
  35. What do the following plants have in common: Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’, Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’?
  36. The modern Italianate garden in the photo was designed by Irishman Paul Doyle. What was the name of the garden show this summer in which it won the award for best large garden?
  37. What do the following plants have in common: Alchemilla, Athyrium, Cardamine pratensis and Cypripedium?
  38. What kind of Irish historical plants are to be found in the Lamb-Clarke Collection at University College Dublin?
  39. Sciarid fly, hoverfly, whitefly and carrot fly: which of these is a friend to the gardener?
  40. What South African succulent is know as the “money plant” and is believed in some cultures to bring wealth to a household or business?

UPDATE: 17th December ’09

and as promised the answers to the quiz

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