I’M GRATEFUL that when I began gardening, I fell in with a bunch of plant nerds who spoke not in common names but in botanical Latin, and turned me on to oddball mail-order nurseries whose entire lists were likewise written that way. Necessity was therefore the mother of invention.

I absorbed at least a rudimentary command of the official language of plants, and my only regret is that I didn’t learn even more. Now, thanks to the fun I’ve been having dipping over and again into the new book called “The Gardener’s Botanical: An Encyclopedia of Latin Plant Names,” I’m further sharpening my skills, because botanical Latin opens up a world for gardeners willing to try learning some of it.

What can a gardener learn from studying botanical Latin? Ross Bayton, a former editor of the BBC’s “Gardeners World Magazine” created the “The Gardener’s Botanical,” and when we spoke recently, he answered that question and more. (Photo of Ross, below, from the Heronswood garden website. Ross recently became assistant director at Heronswood, the public garden near Kingston, Washington.)