Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Thursday, 18 November 2010

VP's Guide to 'Cataloguespeak' Part II


Threadspider and I took a trip to our local garden centre recently and saw the 'cataloguespeak' I discovered earlier this year has now found its way into the descriptions on display there. Here's a fun quick guide to the meanings behind what the signs say...
  • Vigorous - will swamp all your other plants nearby
  • Best eaten fresh - doesn't keep or cook well
  • Crops heavily - you'll have much more than you'll know what to do with
  • Unique flavour - tastes so bad you'll need to mix it with something to disguise the flavour such as chilli or ginger, or sweeten it with a whole bag of sugar
  • Bright light in winter - you'll need to leave the light on all day, especially as we've also advised you to keep it on a north or east facing windowsill
  • Fast growing - will engulf your house in just one season
  • Ideal for cooking - it has no taste or is sour when eaten fresh. May also have a unique flavour
  • Challenging - impossible to grow, so don't bother
  • Uncommonly found - no-one's managed to keep it alive, probably because it's challenging
  • Maintain a warm temperature year round - take out a mortgage on your heating bill now

Have you found any good examples of 'Cataloguespeak' lately?

The photo is courtesy and copyright of Threadspider because I'd forgotten my camera.

9 comments:

  1. Great fun and I feel sure there were plenty more we missed that day. One of my favourites is "Choice", for which read "Very,very expensive".

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  2. TS - oops forgot to put your credit up for the photo - will correct now...

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  3. while i enjoy reading the (often) ludicrous descriptions found in home-improvement centers, i rarely buy there as the results are usually not worth the words to describe them!

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  4. 'Exclusive' is always one that makes me chuckle, especially when you find it seems to be available in nearly every catalogue you look at. Gulped at the price of that clematis armandii!

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  5. A bit like those brochures for all cottages

    All basic amenities - mmm... so a table and chairs then.

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  6. "Thrives in dry shade and difficult conditions" = weed-like tendencies. My favorite is "good cut flower" or "perfect for arrangements" means it flops like crazy or the flower heads are too heavy for the stems.

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  7. Petoskystone and Mark - I'm sure we can find 'cataloguespeak' everywhere if we care to look ;)

    Anna - you'd gulp even more if I told you the price of the 'Challenging' and 'Uncommon' houseplant!

    MMD - great examples which are now my comment of the week in my Sunday Supplement post. Thank you :)

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  8. As a copywriter, I've never been able to write this kind of copy -- my conscience won't let me. As a result, my bank account is a lot less "vigorous" than some of my colleagues.

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  9. Helen - having written my two 'cataloguespeak' posts, I'm glad I haven't been asked! I can't imagine writing 100s of catalogue entries and staying sane in the process.

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