Sunday, August 24, 2014


Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Wright Photography

Here's another pretty name from the floral world that is rare as hen's teeth. So rare she's never been given to more than 5 girls in any one year in the U.S, and is pretty much unheard of. Yet if blooms with exotic sounding names such as Wisteria, Amaryllis and Amarantha are seen as attractive possibilities, why not Lisiantha?

Lisiantha (pronounced LIZ-ee-an-thah or LISS-ee-an-thah) is a variant spelling of lisianthus. I have to admit to being a bit biased when it comes to this flower - I had lisianthus in my bridal bouquet when I got married, so it has a very sentimental place in my heart. I used two different shades of purple blooms (mixed with ivory roses), but the lisianthus also comes in pink, white and blue. It's also known by its' genus name Eustoma (meaning 'beautiful mouth'), Texas Bluebell, Prairie Gentian or Tulip Gentian.

The word Lisianthus comes from the Greek words lysis, meaning 'dissolution', and anthos, meaning 'flower'. Which seems somewhat ambiguous as a meaning, although popular thought is that this translates as symbolic of an outgoing and divisive nature. Other opinions are that the lisianthus symbolises appreciation; or deeply felt romantic attachment; or even old fashioned values and sentimentality because it often grows wild as a prairie flower.

So why has this pretty bloom been largely overlooked as a name option? It's possibly because the flower itself has not enjoyed the widespread popularity that many other flowers such as the rose has had. Word among growers and florists though is that demand for this flower has been increasing over the past decade, so looks like it may be just a matter of time before lovers of this flower start putting this flower name on birth certificates.

While technically the flower name is Lisianthus, I have a feeling that variants Lisiantha/Lysiantha and Lisianthe/Lysianthe (pronounced LIZ-ee-an-thee) will be the ones to watch. Names ending in "us" tend to be mostly masculine, whereas "a" endings are popularly feminine. They feel like a fresher update of Lisandra, while or the "the" ending makes it feel like an elaboration of names like Ianthe or Xanthe. Both could make great nickname options, with other possibilities being Anthe, Antha, Liss, Lissa, Liz, Lizzie, Ann or the less obvious Sia.

Sia is actually the nickname used by the character Lisianthus in the Japanese series 'Shuffle!' 'Shuffle!' started as a visual novel, and has been adapted into video games, manga and anime. It's a great source for floral naming inspiration, as "all of the characters' names are references to flowers in some way".

Lisiantha would be a charming, different but not weird floral option for a girl today. It feels pretty and feminine; soft and lacy; with just enough spunk to be interesting and refreshing. It's the kind of name that would receive plenty of compliments, and leave people wondering why they haven't heard this name used more often. What do you think - is Lisiantha bursting with unfulfilled potential, or has she remained overlooked and largely ignored for a reason?

My beautiful wedding bouquets with purple lisianthus
Made with love by my mum ☺

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Hazen Audel on 'Survive the Tribe'

Recently Nancy shared some of her name predictions, in which she mentioned Seanix, who is on the show 'Treehouse Masters'. I was intrigued - it certainly seems like the kind of name that would catch on in our era of all boys names "X". But while checking out this show, I also stumbled across one called 'Survive the Tribe'.

This show stars Hazen Audel, a survivalist who visits remote tribes to live with them as they do. He seems like quite an interesting person. He's an adventurer, explorer and biologist who has worked as a survival instructor, jungle guide and high school biology teacher. Oh yeah, and he's also an artist. Busy man.

Hazen strikes me as such a cool name - I have a feeling Hazen could be a real winner. He's not totally unheard of, but is pretty rare. He has charted more often than not in the U.S since 1896 but has never been given to more than 52 children in a year. That was in 2011, and they were all boys, although there were three years in the past decade when it charted for girls too. It has the potential to rise much higher though. Girls name Hazel has been climbing since 1994, currently charting at #157. Sound-alike boys name Hayes has also been rising - it entered the top 1000 in 2009 and has continued to climb since then. So there's no denying that Hazen has a sound that many people find attractive.

Speaking of Hayes, most sources claim that Hazen (pronounced HAY-zen) is a variant of Hayes, and hence has the same meaning as Hayes of 'hedged area'. It's also possibly a form of Sanskrit name Hasin, which means 'laughing', although for Western use it's more likely it was adopted from surnames Hayes and Hazen. It's most likely that you'll have seen Hazen as a surname, although famous faces with Hazen as a first name include baseball player Hazen "Kiki" Cuyler, Canadian politician Hazen Argue and American politician Hazen S Pingree. It's also a place name in many parts of the U.S.

Maybe one of those places has a personal meaning to you. Maybe you like the cool nickname possibility Haze. Or maybe you just really like it's sound. There are plenty of things to like about Hazen. He feels at home among nature choices like Oakley, Moss and River; or classic names like Jasper, Brooks and Noah. What kind of vibe do you get from Hazen - and would you use it?

Monday, August 4, 2014


All too often we find that we never give a name a second thought until something happens that makes you see it in a different light. That happened to me this weekend with Taggart.

Like many people, I was spending some time browsing Pinterest when I came across this pin of a cute personalised teddy bear from Etsy store World Class Embroidery.

I was sold - I could totally picture a baby Taggart with his cute little monkey.

And why not? He fits in so well with the surname trend. Taggart is roguish and rascally, a rough and tumble lad with intelligence and charm in spades. Somewhat how I'd envision a modern day Tom Sawyer to be.

Taggart (pronounced TA-gurt) is a Gaelic name derived from McTaggart/MacTaggart. These surnames are Anglicisations of the Gaelic phrase "Mac-an-t-Sagairt" meaning 'son of the priest (or prelate)'. So how did it get to be such a  widespread surname when priests weren't legally allowed to marry after the 12th century? Apparently these laws were often ignored and priests frequently married anyway. It's also possible it was given to people who were simply suspected of being the son of a priest.

Photo Courtesy of
Kimberley G Photography
Taggart is not often seen as a given name in the U.S. It first charted there in 1964 and in 2013 was ranked #3152, the highest it has ever climbed. This still make sit quite rare, and you don't have to go too in depth to get a couple of notions as to why that may be.

Firstly, there's the suggestion that it sounds like discount store Target. Or that there are at least two rhyming options that would lead to inevitable schoolyard teasing. I've also seen it derided as sounding like a name that Sarah Palin would use, closely followed by the observation that it actually is the name of Mitt Romney's son (he goes by the preppy nickname Tag). Then there's the TV show that was my first association with Taggart. 'Taggart' is a serious Scottish detective drama featuring main character Detective Taggart. Unfortunately he's not quite the young, brooding, handsome sleuth we often see on TV these days. The show was very popular though and ran for 28(!) years, ending just a few years ago.

Despite these, I think Taggart could be quite the surprising hit. I could easily see him as a brother to Rafferty, Killian, Kendrick or Llewellyn. Then I saw this last little tidbit that I adore. Apparently the Taggart motto is "Ratione non vi", which means "By reason, not by force". I can just picture it printed above a young Taggarts crib in his nursery. And what a beautiful sentiment it is to raise a child by.