I refuse to use the common name of a favourite perennial. Calling it Great Masterwort doesn’t do justice to its delicate beauty. I prefer the botanical name, Astrantia Major. Its attractive leaves are some of the earliest to push through the winter-hardened soil and its exquisite blooms and seed pods last longer than anything else in our garden.
Astrantia major is native to Europe and is hardy here to Zone 6. This particular variety is “Sunningdale Variegated”. Its jewel-like blooms may be pink or white in colour, “each blossom an umbel of tiny flowers, framed by a collar of papery bracts.” It likes the dappled shade in our woodland garden and grows to about 60 cm.
I love it, but I really hate its name! If the nursery staff had recommended I buy Masterwort, I would probably have ignored the suggestion. Fortunately, I was shown a plant before I was told its name.
This says to me that what title we place on our novels can influence potential readers, regardless of the story’s appeal. Buyers have to get past the title before they pick a book off the shelf, before they read the back cover blurb, or carry it to the cash register.
What do you think? Does the title affect whether or not you will pick up or buy a book?
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