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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yellow Finch Farm: How to Name a Garden

How do you go about naming your garden?

The idea of naming your garden seems quite popular with many gardeners, but deciding what that name should be isn't that easy.

Based on the comments on the recent post about naming your garden, some gardeners believe it may take them years to come up with a name for their garden. Others would like to name their gardens sooner, but aren't sure how to pick a name that isn't uppity or cutesy.

So now that this idea of naming a garden is out in the open, here are some thoughts and ideas on how you might name your garden.

Look around and see what kind of wildlife you have in your garden. In the summertime, I see a lot of yellow finches, like this one that I photographed in its nest high up in a tree. (I had to get the ladder out to get close enough to take the picture. I don't know what the neighbors thought about me standing on a ladder reaching out as far as I could to take this picture without disturbing the birds, but I didn't want to disturb the birds!)

Based on the presence of lots of yellow finches, I could have named my garden Yellow Finch Farm, although farm might imply way more land than I have in my suburban lot.

Or, I might incorporate "rabbit" into a garden name, since I seem to have a lot of rabbits running around, as in Rabbit Run Garden. Or I could make the name even fancier by making "rabbit run" one word.... RabbitRun... and leaving off the word "garden".

Consider what kinds of plants you have growing around the garden. My mom and sister have a large scarlet oak tree in their front yard, so I suggested they call their garden Scarlet Oak Gardens. One of the focal points in my own front yard is a "Guinevere" crabapple tree, so I could have called my garden Guinevere Gardens.

Is there a natural feature of your garden that is unique, like a big rock? I've got a big rock in my garden, so I could have chosen a name like Sitting Rock Garden, because the rock is big enough to sit and rest on.

Dig into garden literature or any good writing and see what other gardens have been called and pick one of those names. (Hmmm, I'm drawing a blank on the name of a garden from literature, any ideas?) Or make up a word, like Garhoe (short for gardening hoe) and then you could call it Garhoe Gardens.

One more piece of advice on naming your garden... make it your own name, one that YOU like, one that you love! Don't worry about what anyone else thinks about the name, make the name for you.

Don't get worried if a name doesn't come to you right away or the names you think of don't seem quite right. It may indeed take a while to come up with a name for your garden. Just go out into your garden and tend it, observe it, and enjoy it. A name will come to you eventually.

That's what happened to me. May Dreams Gardens just popped into my head one day, while I was in the garden in the month of May one year, and I knew it was right for my garden. And I didn't think of it the first year or even the second year of tending this garden. I think it came to me around year four or five.

You, too, will know when you've found the right name for your own garden. When you do, blog about it and tell us all.

11 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

We are very seriously thinking of placing our home on the market next year. I don't think I can name this garden now. It would cement the "relationship" for me and I am trying so hard not to form an attachment to this temporary home. That is hard to do when you have so much sweat equity involved. I do like the idea of naming my garden but it will have to wait until our next home.

Dorothy Guyton said...

I told my daughter when she purchases her home to name her garden WHIMSY. It fits her personality and more than likely her inherited garden style. And clay is what i wrestle with in my yard. i'd rather have mud. To further your naming idea, do you know of anyone that names their plants by human names? Check out a fictional creatively humorous book called "Diary of a Wannabe Gardener." Preview it at www.bbotw.com I believe you will find it inspirational as well as funny. Enjoy gardening and enjoy life.

Kris at Blithewold said...

I think one reason it's so hard to pick names is that it's just not customary anymore - in this country anyway - to name property. (Houses and their gardens in the UK are still named I think). It might be easier to start small and name the parts of the garden - which most of us probably do already (like at Blithewold we have the "Rose Garden", "Rock Garden", etc.). The trick is to retrain ourselves to be more inventive with those names! Say from "Front Garden" (boring) to "Victoriana" and from "Backyard" (yawn) to "The Azores"...

bill said...

Around here it is not uncommon for property to have a name. Near us we have a place that has been named "Moon's Mountain" and further down the road there is place with a sign that says "Life Escape."

It may be more unusual to have a name just for a garden. Actually I have known several who call their veggie garden "Garden of Eatin."

Anonymous said...

Greenbow, the name of our garden, was chosen after some thought. My old property was Green Isle. Here we live off a serious S-curve which I consider the the "bow" of the curve. My maiden name has "green" in it. My married name has "bow" in it. It just seemed to come together.

I too couldn't name this place right after I moved here 13 yrs ago. I had to wait, plant, nurture and develop a relationship with the property.

Lisa at Greenbow

Sissy said...

Well, that really helps, Carol. At least I have a place to start...It's really windy, here, and I would like to acknowledge the Lord, somehow. I am gonna go think on it, a little. Thanks for giving a headstart!

steven said...

I hadn't thought of a name for my garden until now, I wonder what the Seneca or Iroquois translations for "Place where the Jack Russell wants to poop and the rabbits nest" would be?

EAL said...

Interesting discussion, but I am a complete loss--don't have a clue what I would call it. I'll have to think about it

Layanee said...

Carol: Thanks for that post...still thinking about an appropriate name. I like 'Ponderosa' but I live in New England and it doesn't fit. I like Great Dixter but that's been done...I'll think about it tomorrow!

Carol said...

Robin's Nesting Place... I understand, a name does kind of build an attachment to a garden.

Dorothy Guyton... Thanks for the visit. I will check out your blog and book.

Kris at Blithewold... Let's start a new trend in naming our gardens on this side of the ocean.

Bill... so what is your property called?

Lisa at Greenbow... It is interesting to read how others came up with names for their gardens, I like the name you came up with. It works for you.

Sissy... Good luck with naming your gardening, thinking about it is the first step.

Steven... I was in Camp Fire Girls and we used to make up Indian sounding names by using the first syllables of all the words in a phrase, so how about "JaRuPo-RaNe".

EAL... It takes some time to come up with a garden name, good luck.

Layanee... did you get the suggestion I left in a comment somewhere?

Thanks all for joining in on the discussion of naming gardens.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

healingmagichands said...

Hmmm. Still thinking. Any name I come up with will have to pass the Jim test, since he lives here too. Considering how much I like to use rock, I suppose I could call it Rockhaven, but that doesn't really sound like a garden, does it?