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Do you call it a yard or a garden?

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What's the name for that piece of land around your house? The one with a few trees, shrubs, flowers, and maybe some grass. A number of garden writers on a listserv bandied about this question a while back, and I was reminded of it by David Martin's comment on the blog post about the best nurseries, "In Florida, we tend to have 'landscaping' rather than gardening."

The discussion started when someone asked the writers' group, "Do people in the South say they have a garden or a yard?"

Well, as a native Southerner, I knew the answer to that one: A garden typically refers to a plot of vegetables (with maybe a few flowers and herbs planted among the tomatoes and squash).

A yard is everything else beyond the borders of the vegetable garden. Below the Mason-Dixon line, it can also be shorthand for "the lawn" or for "grass," as in "I'm going out to mow the yard."

I'm not saying that's true for everyone. But it's what you'll hear most on the South. According to the garden writers' discussion, that's true for Midwesterners, too.

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