What's a garden?

Nine times out of ten, when I talk about my garden, and how much I enjoy it, non-gardeners assume I have a fruit and vegetable garden. In America, the term "yard" is used to refer to non-produce areas surrounding the house.
I'm never quite sure how to react. I do believe that in Britain, the term "garden" still refers to an area around the house where the gardener decides what to plant (and what to rip out). But maybe it's really a garden if there's some involvement. Some folks who have things planted in the areas surrounding their houses completely give up responsibility for the yard work to a crew of workers. They don't really have gardens but yards. But those of use who care have gardens. Tellingly, we call it native plant gardens, not native plant yards.
Of course, the big movement in this country seems towards planting fruit and vegetables in one's garden. And if I didn't live in water-starved California, maybe I'd consider it. But really, my water bill is already pretty high. I love to go to the farmer's market for my fruit and veggies, and get just the amount I can it. And someone has to plant the natives for the birds, bugs, and butterflies.
I do have some fruit trees and enjoy my peaches and plums very much. But what I really care about are the natives, both plants and animals, that make their homes near my home.


Linda said…
oh, i so agree. i always had a few raised garden boxes but i would find myself at the farmer's market buying produce rather than growing it. i do love my fruit trees but always leave plenty for the birds and animals. i once had two possum eating oranges in my courtyard as i sat chatting with a friend one evening on the front step. i was thrilled and a bit creeped out at the same time. ls