off topic, bloom / flower / back yard

Leo A. Martin
Sun, 09 Feb 2014 12:25:26 PST
Peter begged to know

> But, please, what is the U.S.A. English term for the British back yard????

Most people wouldn't use a word for this because such spaces almost don't exist here.
Most people in the US don't take care of any plants whatsoever, unless things planted in
the landscape, and hiring a gardener to take care of that (generally poorly) is very
common. For some reason landscape maintenance people here think every shrub has to be
carved into a ball, pillow or marshmallow. One time in a bank landscape I saw a yucca
whose leaf sphere had been carved into a cube. The faded bloom stalk was not removed at
the base, but was part of the box.

High-falutin' landscape designers, in the rare design for a client who actually would
use such a space, call such areas "utility areas" or "potting areas", or they would
specify a "potting shed."

I would like to emphasize that even the most luxurious garden behind an immense mansion
in the US would be called the back yard by almost all US natives, and people in general
expect both front yard and back yard to look good, with nice plantings.

On larger properties, or those with substantial native vegetation areas or portions that
do not receive regular maintenance, people often refer to the wilder area with the
colloquial expression "the back 40", as in 40 acres. An acre is an Anglo-Saxon unit of
area denoting the land one man with one ox could plow in one day. There are 640 acres in
a square mile, which in the US is referred to on maps as a township.

I can't recall who mentioned that "garden" tends to be reserved for a specific area
where vegetables are grown; people also have "flower gardens" where they grow decorative
plants. I and other people here in metro Phoenix would be said by locals to have a large
"cactus garden" as well as an orchard, which refers to a space planted mainly with
fruiting trees.

It's grapefruit season. Those of you who haven't tasted a tree-ripened grapefruit are
terribly deprived. The difference between store-bought and tree-ripened grapefruit is
about as big as the difference between canned and fresh Litchi chinensis. Our extremely
hot summers and cool winters make for magnificent grapefruit.

Leo Martin
Phoenix Arizona USA

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