I have been working for a landscape gardener for just over a year, has anyone got any tips on how I can improve my plant knowledge ?
books/ magazines / internet / gardening forums. I think you pick up plant names etc easier if you generally interested.
Make a point of asking questions of your employer. If he's any good he'll know the answers. If not take a picture and find the answer yourself. Get interested don't just find the name find out how to prune it,when and how to propagate it. The knowledge will stick better. If you see a plant you don't know make a point of finding out asap and relate it to something. I still learn every day but I make a point of looking on here at the requests for IDl's on here. Make it a habit. It'll make you more knowledgeable and more employable in the future. The more knowledgeable you are the more valuable you are.
If there are garden centres in your area, go for a walk around as seeing the plant and name together will help.
I'd suggest learning the proper name from the start.
Forget all the virgin's bowers and batchelor's buttons.
Learn about plant families, you can get a short-list of possible IDs if you recognise family features.
Agree with Dave re finding out about the plant, it's important knowledge, ID is just a start.
Don't try and learn too many at once unless you have a very good memory.
Adrian, hello. There's no quick and easy way, but once you start, be warned, you'll be hooked for life. I also agree that learning plant families is the most helful way to get to grips with it. Some books concentrate on families, so it might be worth visiting your local library for a start. Good luck with it.
Get a book on meanings of Latin plant names. Once you have learned a few bits of Latin (and the odd bit of Greek) the names will start to make some sense and will be easier to remember. They often give clues to how the plant looks, where it comes from, or how it grows.There's a list to start with here: http://theseedsite.co.uk/latin.html