OUR GARDENS HAVE LONG BEEN A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION WHEN IT COMES TO NAMING CHILDREN, WITH SOME PRICKLY, HAIRY AND SURPRISING VERSIONS THROWN IN THE MIX
If you ever followed the attempts of Mrs Bucket (pronounced bouquet if you please, as she insisted) on her quest to social superiority you would have noticed that she and her two sisters – the tarty rose and the daggy and classless Daisy – all shared a flower’s name.
The idea of giving girls flower names is not unusual. It is, however, unusual to give a boy a flower name, when you consider that if plants were to have gender according to their traits and characteristics, you would find the occasional ‘Spike’ and ‘Spud’ for sure.
Although, there are far more boy names inspired by flowers than you would think. Jarred, as an example, is Hebrew for rose and the indigo plant that creates purple blue dye is often attached to a boy baby. In spite of Mrs Bucket’s redefining of social mores, her name Hyacinth was mostly a man’s name meaning bulbous!
Other botanical derivations of male names come from trees like Ash (presumably extended to Ashley as a girl’s name and then used for both).
Olive has taken a dual role in lending some or all its parts as a genderless name that can be applied as Oliver or simply Olive for a girl. A bit the same with Laurence from Laurel trees. Basil and Bud are obvious plant names for a boy.
Florian, while it sounds slight, delightful and feminine, is mostly a boy’s name.
Shatrevar, the Persian word for flower is the inspiration behind Trevor.
Watson as a given name has a strength and solidarity to it. Maybe you know one and can see if this assessment if correct. It comes from the plant Watsonia which means ‘powerful warrior’.
As a matter of interest and that of gender equity, one of the sites linked to Wikipedia illustrates 33 girl’s names inspired by flowers – Lily, Rose, Iris, Posy etc – while in the boy’s column there are three lonely names.
Getting towards the end of the alphabet, Valery is probably more common as a female name, but also as a male moniker after the herb Valerian. Now for a name association guess that Palmer as a boy’s name may have some connection to a palm? Possibly not, as Coco as in Chanel was probably not intended to be related to a coconut. If you like the idea of an adventurous name, maybe Huckleberry. We don’t know what a huckle is or for that matter the berry it refers to, but it sure sounds interesting and Mississippian.
‘Mango’ is listed under some sites as a boy’s name, but I have yet to hear of someone called after this sumptuous, juicy tropical fruit. Perhaps this is fitting after all. In fact, in toilography sites the men’s room is referred to as ‘mangoes’, and ‘no-mangoes’ for the ladies. Not really a good botanical example but good for a laugh.
Perhaps it’s a good idea to think of what a baby might look like as an adult before visiting the registry office, so they don’t have to constantly pass the novel name test. I still like Hyacinth Bucket’s take on it all.