A Well Defined Garden

 Absolutely essential in a garden!
Flowers Etc. - Alliums

I'm not impressed with my old Chambers dictionary! It defines a garden as follows:

a piece of ground on which flowers, etc., are cultivated; a pleasant spot.

This seems rather dismissive of all the lovely green things one usually associates with a garden. The words 'flowers etc.' don't begin to do justice to even the smallest garden.

A Pleasant Spot?

And what about this throw-away phrase, 'a pleasant spot'? Singular? I should jolly well think there are many pleasant spots in my own garden, after all the time I spend weeding, planting, digging, raking, planning, designing, shifting, worrying, watering, staking, checking for aphids... This definition obviously needs some improvement.


Cambridge should know about gardens, being a part of the English Garden culture. So I looked up the online Cambridge dictionary, with slightly better results:'A piece of land next to and belonging to a house, where flowers and other plants are grown, and often containing an area of grass.'


Oxford online (granted, it's the compact version) agrees that a house, a lawn, and flowers are necessary to have a garden:'A piece of ground adjoining a house, typically cultivated to provide a lawn and flowerbeds.'

 Definitely a well-defined garden...
Yippee! My Garden Fits!

My old, fat, red Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary (published in 1977) just doesn't cut the mustard, though it claims it has 'always faithfully reflected changes in a living language'. So I checked in the Twenty-First Century on-line version to see if the concept of a garden definition had improved. Partial success!

Chambers 2001

The 'piece of ground' has been transformed into an 'area of land' - a phrase with a much more expansive, evocative feeling. I'm afraid flowers specifically have been given the push in favour of a broader collection of possible garden components - this is not necessarily a bad thing:

'An area of land, usually one adjoining a house, where grass, trees, ornamental plants, fruit, vegetables, etc, are grown.'

 Sorry about the patchy lawn...
Merry Christmas to the Moosey House

Yippee! Now we're getting somewhere! The Moosey garden fits!