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Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's in a Name?



Do you know what the difference is between your garden and the garden of someone who is rich?

There are obvious differences because of what money can buy. Money can buy land measured in acres, exotic plants from around the world, full-time landscape crews, one of a kind garden art, good design by the best landscape architects, and water features that dazzle.

But the real difference between your garden and the garden of someone who is rich is the rich people name their gardens.

Technically, the rich people name their entire estates, which includes both the house or castle or manor house, plus the surrounding gardens. But we identify with those estate names as the names of great gardens. We read about gardens like Great Dixter, Sissinghurst, Wisley in Great Britain, to name just a few.

Rich people in the United States name their estates, too. Who has been to Winterthur or Oldfields or Blithewold, all estate gardens of people who had money and therefore, for some reason, named them.

I've had three gardens, and I'll admit that this one that I am in now is the first one that I gave a name to, and I gave it the name long before I knew what a blog was or decided to start up a blog. The other gardens I have had I generally refer to by the name of the subdivision they were in. But that's not too imaginative, it's not unique, and it doesn't work for people whose gardens aren't in named subdivsions.

In case you haven't figured it out, the name of my current garden is May Dreams Gardens, or I guess more properly it should be May Dreams House and Gardens because I do have a house here, but it is secondary to the garden. My blog header above tells you how I picked that name.

So, have you given your garden a name? "My Garden", by the way, doesn't count, so you'll need to come up with something better than that.

If you have name for your garden, leave a comment and let us know what it is.

If you don't have a name for your garden, and you'd like some ideas on a name so your garden can be like the rich people's gardens, leave a comment and I'm sure someone will have some suggetions.

Really, if you are a gardener, you are putting a lot of time and sweat, if not money, into your garden. Doesn't it deserve its own name, so that someday it can take its place in history?

31 comments:

Gina said...

carol - what a cool post! i do NOT have a fancy name for my garden but i'd love one! anybody have any suggestions???

rusty in miami said...

Hi Carol a very good question to ponder. I have not given my garden a name, but you are right it deserves one after all the time and effort I put into it. I give my car a name so why not my garden.

Kylee said...

We call the largest garden we have "Max's Garden" because at any given time, you can find Max there. Romie has even asked Max if he's taking good care of things 'out there.' The only reason we named that garden was to distinguish it from the other ones on the property when talking about it. As for a name for Our Little Acre, well, I guess we call it "Our Little Acre"!! That still doesn't count, does it?

Oh, and indeed, I have been to Winterthur. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful, wonderful place. I WILL go back there again! (And to nearby Longwood Gardens, too!)yhbpsb

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

The name of my garden is Zanthan Gardens. However, many people think that Zanthan is my name.

Zanthan was the name of our website long before it was the name of our garden. My husband grew up in England in a house which is still identified by its name, rather than a number--as are many houses and cottages there, not just rich peoples'. I thought our cottage should have a name too.

We toyed with Mosquito Marsh, Possum Gully, and Dillo Run but they were too cute. Besides our website hosts other blogs unrelated to gardening or our house. So we went with something completely abstract and imaginary.

Leslie said...

What a great idea, Carol! I am definitely going to put some thought into this because you're right about it being important. I have area names (the fountain garden, the day care garden, the old veggie garden) but no overall name. I want one!

Pam/Digging said...

No, my garden is unnamed. But it's an interesting idea to give it one. I wouldn't want it to seem la-di-dah or cutesy though. Maybe it will take a few more years to come up with something suitable.

Kathy said...

I refer to our "place" as Purdyville, but I am usually not thinking of just the garden(s) but the whole shebang.

Greetings from Purdyville, population 12. Wish you were here.

Heather said...

Coming up with the name for my blog and the name of my garden was pretty easy since my name is a flower. Getting said plant to thrive in my garden is proving more challenging. I may soon have to rename it Heather's Garden (but no heather).

LostRoses said...

I once thought of moving to a mountain community so I could name my property which is what they do up there. But they all seem like rather cutesy names which I didn't like and besides I had no money to move to the mountains.

What was the question? Oh yeah, my garden is named Mary's Garden, which is kind of like "My Garden" except that I have a sign that says so. My son made it out of the copper pipe that plumbers use (it was handy that he's a plumber). It's about 3 feet long and a foot high and has aged to a nice bronzy green.

Pam/Digging said...

Carol, if you ever need an alternate name for your garden, considering your veggie harvest lately you could call it Garden of Eatin'. ;-)

Layanee said...

I have long pondered what to name the garden and property. I have been reading Gertrude Jekyll in hopes of coming up with something not cutesy and not pretentious. I like Hank's name over at 'Lake Country' of Digitalistan but now that is taken. I would welcome suggestions!

Colleen said...

My garden isn't named either, but I'd love for that to change. Any suggestions are welcome :-) I love the name of your garden, Carol. It's not cutesy or snobbish-sounding...it's perfect, actually.

Entangled said...

I wanted to grow a lot of chile peppers in our new vegetable garden and call it Hot Flash Farm, but my spouse thinks it too silly. We were just talking about it yesterday while driving through central Virginia and looking at all the signs at the entrances to large (and small) properties. He said, "why not call it Tangled Branches?", and I had to admit that I never thought of it. Duh.

eleanor said...

Carol, how about 'Garden of the Homestead' for us. But you would have to ask Sherry first

Flora Gardener said...

I've called my garden and home Tangly Cottage Garden since 1994. I saw the name "Tangley Cottage" in a British book; it actually was the name of a family and their estate. I have a feeling their garden was bigger than 50 by 200 feet and that their "cottage" was bigger than 500 square feet! The name gives me an excuse for my rather overgrown and, er, exuberant gardening style.

OldRoses said...

Rose Cottage, of course! Especially since I have started planting roses in the front of my house as well as in the backyard. Eventually I hope to have the entire house surrounded by roses. And other flowers.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

For years now I've thought about naming my house, a 1970s suburban ranch, for the sheer irony of it. I have toyed with names such as "Boxelder Cottage," "Bindweed Cottage" and "Garlic Mustard Cottage." These names are all a bit too negative, however accurate. I have both a woodland garden & a prairie garden, so I suppose it could include the term "savannah," but there are too many subdivisions around here with that in their names. My latest idea is to name it something to do with all the critters that live in or pass through the garden. Maybe "Squirrelhaven."

Anonymous said...

A good question Carol. I don't have a garden blog but I do enjoy reading all about other gardens.

As to a name I have named our place. Greenbow. It would take too much space to explain the name. My husband thought we should name our place Weedy Wallow.Hmmmmm

Where I used to live was named Green Isle due to its situation. On a knoll surrounded by forest and other properties.

Annie in Austin said...

Carol, our house & garden has had a name since last spring, but the post was never finished - I'm off to do that right now!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Carol said...

Gina... tell us a little bit about your garden, or post about it on your blog and I'm sure someone will have a suggestion or two for a name.

Rusty in Miami... Excellent point! If you name your car, you definitely need to name your garden.

Kylee... Yes, you can do better with a name!

M Sinclair Stevens... Thanks for the additional info on naming of gardens/houses in England. All of our gardens here deserve names.

Leslie... Looking forward to reading about whatever name you come up with.

Pam/digging... I agree, you don't want la-di-dah or cutesy for your garden, but will it really take you two more years to come up with a name?

Kathy... Purdyville works for me, or maybe you could refer to the gardens only as "Purdyville Gardens".

Heather... hmmmm maybe you should come up with some other name, especially if there is no heather in your garden?

LostRoses... Well, it sounds like your sign just tells who owns the garden. Maybe you could indulge us with a name for "Mary's Garden" that isn't too cutesy?

Pam/digging... That's a thought, but maybe it should just be the name of the vegetable garden... "Garden of Eatin' at May Dreams Gardens".

Layanee... describe your garden and its main characteristics on your blog and I bet you get a few suggestions, like Left Mitten Gardens?

Colleen... Thanks, I like the name of my garden. You ought to describe your garden on your blog and we can all make some suggetions for name.

Entangled... Tangled Branches sounds perfect.

Eleanor... Your garden is going to be called Scarlet Oak Gardens because you have a large scarlet oak tree in the front yard!

Flora Gardener... I like it! Tangly Cottage conjures up quite a interesting image of a garden.

OldRoses... Rose Cottage sounds like a wonderful place!

Mr. MacGregor's Daughter... I like Squirrelhaven!

Anonymous... Come out, come out, whoever you are! Greenbow sounds like a wondeful, tranquil garden. Much better than WeedyWallow!

Annie in Austin... Can't wait to read your post about your garden name!

Thanks all for the comments and names. If you want help naming your garden, post about it on your blog and I'm sure you'll get some good suggestions.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Sissy said...

Knowing Annie, it will be witty and charming!!
I have never thought about naming our place. I am not proud and would consider stealing a good one from the list!!
:)

Annie in Austin said...

Thanks a lot for adding some pressure to deliver, Sissy ;-]

My name post is written and on the blog.

Annie

Pam/Digging said...

Carol, did you notice on her blog that Annie said she'd been thinking of a name for her garden for three years? See? I'm not the only one who needs a little time.

Nevertheless, I think I've got one. But you're going to have to wait a few weeks until I get the name painted on a sign. It's my next project . . . right after I paint that bench purple.

Carolyn gail said...

Hi Good Neighbor,

" A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet ... " so I call mine
"Sweet Carolyn's Garden. "

Marie said...

When I moved into my house, everyone in the area called it The Doctor's House. Three doctors had lived and practiced here since 1907. But after time it didn't fit us anymore and "new people" in the subdivisions didn't know where the doctor's house was. I named my house "Happenstance" because that is how we found it--purely by chance. And then shortly after, I named my garden "Serendipity Garden." I've been meaning to paint signs for over ten years now. How's that for procrastination? But you've inspired me. It's now my project for winter, so I can look forward to putting it up in early spring.

Tina said...

Oh my...this has been an ongoing disagreement between the other-half and myself for years! lol.

There are lots of old time cutesy names way out here in the 'old country'. It's the type of place where everything has a name, including the roads named for the people who lived on 'em (and some still do, including us!).

He's insisted to me that our place is 'Notchwood' (obvious reasons)and I like 'Meadowbrook' or 'Meadowcreek' (also obvious reasons) so much better, though it is much more boring.

And so, we sit, years later, still at a nameless stalemate. :)

bill said...

We have thought about a name for our place - not just just the gardens. We came up with the name "Shining Water" or "Camp Shining Water" over a year ago but never put it on a sign. Sometimes we refer to it that way between ourselves though. The name comes from the fact that the sun reflects off the water in the morning.

Anyone has a better idea let me know/

We also considered calling the place "prairie point" but then that is the name of a different place in my mind.

A lot of people around here call our place "the old Middlebrook place." If an oldtimer asks where we live and we give that reply the chances are good they will know where we live.

jodi said...

One of my email addresses is called Sunflower Hill, which is sort of what I call our place in my mind--when not referring to it as 'the funny farm' or 'the jungle.' The name is because of the freerange sunflowers that pop up all over the place, causing big smiles and happy birds. One of these days maybe I'll paint a sign to that effect--but to others in Scotts Bay, it will always be the Henry Thorpe place. (one of the earliest owners of our house).

siobhan said...

We just moved, but I loved my last garden's name. It was 16 years old, but was always called "Anticipation" because I was always anticipating that it would be just a little better each year!
I'm musing over the name "Nonesuch" for this new garden, as it is above the house on a hillside formed out of gigantic boulders. I had no idea (nonesuch idea?) it would be built in such a difficult spot!

Anonymous said...

In 2007, our garden was Oasis. 2006 was Eden. This year, we are thinking of naming the garden "Verde".

k8 said...

I usually go the easy route and just grow a few herbs, basil and rosemary, in planters - but this year is my first year to have a full blown herb garden, plus a few tomato and pepper plants - I caught this blog and thought i would share my idea... since it is a herb garden - i will probably name it "Herbal Remedies" or "Herbal Medicine Manor" I'm still thinking though.....