Thursday, May 17, 2007


I think about the word "garden" a lot. When I was a girl, and even into young adulthood, when someone around me said garden, I knew they were always referring to a vegetable garden. When you went out to "work in the garden" it was always planting, weeding, or harvesting tomatoes or cucumbers. People had flower "beds" or just flowers, but they were rarely called gardens. And I never heard anyone call themselves a "gardener" in those days. I think it was Carol, over at May Dreams Gardens who once asked if we called ourselves gardeners. It's such an interesting question.

In all the British books I've read over the years, they always say garden for what I call lawn or backyard. It also seems that the word garden is used to describe the whole of an estate, an umbrella term which covers the flowers, vegetables, lawns, and wood(s). I've puzzled over this because my land is spread out. It isn't like a town garden which might be a front lawn full of flowers and a beautiful path leading to the front door, or one of those wonderful Groundforce gardens in the back of the house, surrounded by a high fence which blocks the closeby neighbors.

My front yard is divided by a dirt road which used to go by our house and continue up to the next house, .2 mile up the hill. Now, we own that land, and the house is gone, and the road stops here (except when it is used for logging or walking). I've kind of taken on the broad term of garden, meaning the whole land, and naming each little area; the terrace garden, the vegetable garden, the patio garden, the fence garden, the lawn garden. I don't go out to "the garden." I go outside to a specific garden. I don't have big, complicated gardens. I am a simple gardener, and grow what does well in my zone 2, 3, or 4 garden, depending where it is on the farm. I have had to give up a lot of plants I used to grow at my former house eight miles away. No more evening primrose, no more bee balm, and definitely no roses except the hardy rosa rugosa. I grow a lot of what I love, like daylilies in many colors, iris, mallow. As the spring and summer go on, I'm hoping to highlight the different gardens and what is growing there.


  1. I'd love to follow the progress in all your different gardens, Nan - ours is tiny compared to yours!

  2. I had never heard the term garden used exclusively for vegetable gardens until we moved to the midwest. I still refer to my "yard" as my garden. Flowers, grass, tress, weeds, the whole thing. :)

  3. Nan, I can't wait to see many garden photos! You know you will see them on my blog too. I have different gardens too: The Butterfly Garden and the Vegetable Garden (also called the Playhouse Garden, because the playhouse is tucked amid the beds), the front porch garden, etc. I have to say, I definitely call myself a "gardener." The garden is my craft, my art, my passion.

  4. Karen, maybe tiny, but beautiful from what I've seen.

    Les, so you have weeds? :<)

    Aisling, I feel the same way.


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