I’ve been reading Julie Moir Messervy’s excellent new book, Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love, which gives homeowners several techniques for figuring out what they want from their yard and garden and how to achieve it. One of her suggestions is to name your landscape. Here’s what she says:
Naming helps you establish a theme that will provide an underlying blueprint for the way you develop your property in the future. Sometimes a characteristic of the area or region you live in will suggest a theme; sometimes an attribute, style or feature of your house will give a clue, or a particular landscape or garden highlight from your experience will surface as a theme you’d like to develop on your land.
Messervy gives examples of names like Tight Squeeze (a narrow lot); The Back Forty (a Midwesterner reclaiming her roots in the city); or Rosecroft (a cottage with lots of roses). This prompted some thoughts about my own landscape, and I took a survey of those at home about what we might call our property. My husband suggested Hillside, since our house is built into a hill. Descriptive, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The 16-year-old declined to participate, saying her brain was dead from studying for finals.
This exercise does prompt some hard thinking. What is it that’s special about our property? The ponds nearby (Pond Pinnacle?), the little meadow out back (Wildflower Ridge?), the plethora of critters that inhabit the garden (Mole Manor?), or maybe it’s our garage hanging off the front of the place (Snout House Haven?) Clearly, I need to think more about this.
What would you call your garden?
I’ve been occasionally mulling this question over, Mary. It has never occurred to me before to name my garden! My main garden bed is roughly divided between being an untidy perennial bed in back and an annual vegetable garden in front, so an appropriate name would have to indicate a sense of contrasts and mixed-upness. How about The Hodgepodgery? Or, more metaphorically, Bread & Roses? Or, somewhat more accurately, at least when the bunnies don’t eat all my beans, Beans & Bee Balm? I grow more tomatoes than anything else, usually, but I don’t think I have a perennial that starts with a T. I think I see Beans & Bee Balm rising to the top. Thanks for a fun topic.
I like the Hodgepodgery! It feels a little British.
Whatever appeals to your thought and emotion the most! I can definitely say that from first hand experience.