off topic, bloom / flower / back yard

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Sat, 08 Feb 2014 16:11:47 PST
Peter in Sydney wrote: "Merriam-Webster & Google are in agreement that "dooryard" [one word]
pertains to a front or back yard [or I guess even a side yard] which is
accessed directly from the house. Maine and Canada are referred to, so
perhaps this term is more relevant to gardeners from that part of the world."

I'm inclined to agree. Louise Beebe Wilder made occasional reference to dooryard gardens in her various works, often in reference to what she encountered in New York State, USA. These dooryard gardens were generally associated with rural, farming communities where the farming families might have had plenty of land, but little time or money for ornamental gardens. 

Herb gardens were evidently often dooryard gardens,  placed of course near the door to the kitchen to make quick forays by the cook out to pick the herbs easy. The purely ornamental gardens were small because they had to be fenced to keep out the cows and other big herbivores. The suite of plants in these gardens was probably limited largely to whatever could be easily propagated and passed around. But there were also traveling salesmen who sold seeds and bulbs: Zephyranthes and Tigridia are two sorts mentioned in this connection by Wilder. Many of the old, tough, suckering roses turned up in these gardens, too.

I think there is a social aspect to the dooryard tradition, too: by planting your best plants out where passersby could see them, you were telling the world that in spite of the livestock, mud and odors, you too aspired to be a member of cultivated society.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the only livestock I have is a little dog and some of the county's deer herd, but I have my share of mud and odors; and yes, I too aspire to be a member of somewhat cultivated society. 







On Saturday, February 8, 2014 5:39 PM, Peter Franks <peter.scaevola@gmail.com> wrote:
  
Hi all

Merriam-Webster & Google are in agreement that "dooryard" [one word]
pertains to a front or back yard [or I guess even a side yard] which is
accessed directly from the house. Maine and Canada are referred to, so
perhaps this term is more relevant to gardeners from that part of the world

Peter in Sydney


-----Original Message-----
From: pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:pbs-bounces@lists.ibiblio.org]
On Behalf Of Robin Hansen
Sent: Sunday, 9 February 2014 8:53 AM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] off topic, bloom / flower / back yard

But what's an appropriate definition of door yard?  I love the term, quaint 
but entirely useable - sorry no Whitman available to look up.

Just a brief mention - I've had 3.5 inches of rain since Thursday night - 
lovely, lovely rain.

Robin Hansen
Southwest Coastal Oregon

-----Original Message----- 
From: penstemon
Sent: Saturday, February 08, 2014 1:45 PM
To: Pacific Bulb Society
Subject: Re: [pbs] off topic, bloom / flower / back yard


Another term I've encountered only in American literature is "door yard".
Does this have any relevance in our current thread? Is this term still used?


Probably only when studying Whitman.
I might start using it, though.


Bob Nold

Denver, Colorado, USA

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