Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Another nature name - this seems to be becoming a theme. Slightly more unusual - important to me as it combines two elements of my own name.

Saffron is a spice which has a vivid yellow colour. The spice was introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages, having been used before in the Middle and Far East.

The word comes from the Old French Safran from Arabic origin.

The name became popular in the 1960s.

So why choose Saffron?
First it's unusual, in a class full of Emmas and Madisons a Saffron will stand out. It's a name that cries to be noticed, and by being unusual and choosing this name you are not butchering a popular name to be creative.

Second - it's nature. Nature is a popular place for names - Lily, Rose, River, Sky - but Saffron is not obvious.

Third - it has nicknames. As someone with a name that has no proper, understandable nicknames I feel that they are important. You can't go wrong with a Saffy or a Saff.

Definitely a colour name (perhaps that is my theme!) Saffron does not burn the tongue when said or the eyes when read. A Saffron will stand out for all the right reasons.

Monday, June 26, 2006


What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet.

It's always good to start with a bit of Shakespeare. I'm gradually getting away from the Orangery theme by talking about Rose - a plant but also a vastly popular name in its various forms. I recently did a like/dislike poll on a favourite forum of mine with 24 different names on a variety of different themes - traditional, trendy, popular, dated, old-lady, unisex, mythological, flowery, virtues, Hollywood...and Rose came out top with 86% of posters giving it a 'like'. Why?

From the categories I have already mentioned Rose seems to encompass many of them - traditional, popular (especially as a middle name), old-lady, flowery. The rose can be a symbol of love, it also one of the symbols of the Virgin Mary and also features in the legend of Madelon who gave a rose to the baby Jesus.

Where does Rose come from?

As with all great names (think Mary, Rhea, Maia) Rose has multiple meanings.
The obvious meaning is from the Latin Rosa meaning Rose. However, it may also have derived from the German Hros meaning Horse or Hrod meaning Fame.
It is one of the earliest flower names used.

Other forms of Rose:

Rosalind - meaning tender horse or lovely rose
Rosaline - think Shakespeare! Used in Love's Labours Lost and Romeo and Juliet
Rosamund - meaning horse protection or rose of the world
Rosemary - a herb, meaning sea dew
Rosetta - as in the Stone

In recent years Rose has become popular as a middle name (within my year there are at least 5 people with Rose as a mn). The long 'oh' sound makes it perfect but also makes it now a fairly standard choice. Alternatives to Rose include Ruth, Ruby, Rhea, Renee, Reine or Rachel.

Names to avoid using Rose with:
Mary - the name of Henry VIII of England's prize warship which sank in the harbour
Audrey - a horror film
Amy - one of Sonic's companions

There's probably more but good ol' Google hasn't come up with anything else.

I'll leave with some flowery alternatives to Rose
Bryony, Daisy, Fern, Flora, Hazel, Heather, Ivy, Jasmine, Lilac, Lily, Mimosa, Myrtle, Pansy, Peony, Petunia, Poppy, Posy, Primrose, Primula, Violet

Monday, June 19, 2006


Might as well start with an 'orange' name.

Clementine - French version of Clement
From the Latin meaning 'mild, merciful, gentle'.

Start by dissecting the meaning:
Mild - the climate of the UK is mild and temperate. You can get mild cheese.
Merciful - having this as a meaning is better than using Mercy to get the same sense or Mercedes.
Gentle - feel this describes the name - Clementine is sing-song, an unexpected surprise - not abrasive.

There were 14 popes named Clement and also St Clement of Alexandria. Clement is an old name - therefore traditional.

In the USA Clementine was most popular way back in 1882 when it was at 363. It fell off the popularity charts in 1953. Therefore - traditionally unusual and unused.

As said earlier - Clementine is sing-song. What probably puts people most off the name is the song 'Oh My Darling Clementine' (full words below). Basically Clementine was nice but couldn't swim - unfortunate when you hurt your foot and fall into a pool. So Clementine drowns. How tragic.

But don't trust me: read it yourself:

In a cavern, in a canyon,
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner forty niner,
And his daughter Clementine

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Light she was and like a fairy,
And her shoes were number nine,
Herring boxes, without topses,
Sandals were for Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Drove she ducklings to the water
Ev'ry morning just at nine,
Hit her foot against a splinter,
Fell into the foaming brine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Ruby lips above the water,
Blowing bubbles, soft and fine,
But, alas, I was no swimmer,
So I lost my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

How I missed her! How I missed her,
How I missed my Clementine,
But I kissed her little sister,
I forgot my Clementine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Clementine!
Thou art lost and gone forever
Dreadful sorry, Clementine

Another problem with Clementine is the pronunciation: is it Clem-en-tine (rhyming with fine) or Clem-en-teen?

Variations on Clementine: Clement, Clementina, Clemence, Clemency, Clem, Clemmy

So Clementine - unusual, traditional, fruity and the subject of a song.

Friday, June 16, 2006

About the Blog name

I'm not going to claim to be an expert on oranges and orangeries. They're a nice fruit for a summers day. I wanted to have Clementine as my username - Clementines are oranges therefore the Orangery.

By the wonders of Google I give you orangeries that I have visited:

The Orangery at Kensington Palace - designed for Queen Anne in 1704
The Orangery at Holland Park - 'a presentation of the finest in contemporary arts'
The Orangery at Blenheim Palace (I have not visited) - apparently now a restaurant. Designed by the same person as the Kensington Palace Orangery (Sir John Vanbrugh)
The Orangery at Kew - recently restored, another restaurant

And of course the Wikipedia entry on Orangeries