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Wednesday, August 19, 2009


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Deborah at Kilbourne Grove

When I was living in England, I worked at Harrods. When customers would place a telephone order you would enter it right into the computer. It was wonderful to hear all the house names that people had. When we moved back to Canada, and bought our house, we decided we wanted a house name as well. The Kilbourne family had built the house in 1880, and we were only the third family to live in it. When we lived in London, we lived at Westbourne Grove, so we decided to combine the two, and named our house Kilbourne Grove.

I also name parts of the garden as I develop them. I have a Lime Walk, that is very young, a Flora Glade (flowers and a few tall trees) and a Kitchen Garden (raised beds).

Mr. McGregor's Daughter

I named my garden at the suggestion of Carol (May Dreams Gardens) that we should all have a name for our gardens. I chose the ironic name of "Squirrelhaven" as the squirrels are my nemesis, and they seem to think the garden is there solely for their enjoyment and sustenance. It's also ironic because my property is small, so giving it a name appealed to my warped sense of humor.
I also have names for the different areas of the garden so I can keep track of how a plant performs in the different areas. (E.g., the Coneflowers in the faux prairie bloom earlier than those in the long border.) I love your idea of symbolic names for parts of the garden, especially a sacred grove.
Naming an urban (or suburban) American garden is pretentious only if the intent is to be pretentious. If the intent is to be ironic, whimisical, charming, or for some other purpose, then it is not pretentious.


Hi Linda and Mark, yet another fantastical and informative post! I love seeing that areas of your garden and how you refer to them. Having names for the spots makes life easier when recording things in a journal for me, a point of reference. I am so impressed that you even have names for things that are not yet built! The east and west gates. The Moon garden suggests that I need to go rake my gravel in the zen garden. My last three gardens have been Fairegarden. It is not a specific place, but rather the place where I am currently gardening. It began as the name of my business, three houses ago. Landscaping, design and crafting in the winter. A very small enterprise and the name was flexible to allow it to cover many endeavors. Thanks too for the link love! :-)


I simply loved this post. Could it be it is because I grew up in England and everyone I knew gave their house a name. Ours was Caldervale, named so because we could see the Vale of Calder. Even so I have never given a name to any house I have lived in here. A couple of people nearby do have a name on their house. We did name our gardens although nothing inspiring like yours.
I don't think you can change a house name in England. We have friends with a farm and it is still known as Huggert's Farm even though the Huggerts are long gone. Makes life a lot easier when you are looking for farms where ancestors lived. They still have the same name, and these names appear on the census. I wouldn't have a clue what to name our house here. Soemthing with a Spanish name relating to the amount of work!
I plan to post on Snowshill in the next day or two. Have you been there. It is my absolute favorite this year and for my eyes beats Dixter or Sissinghurst or Hidcote. I will post on our visit to Hidcote this year sometime later.

Lisa at Greeenbow

I don't think it pretentious to name your garden. To me it is just a way to say it is special to you. Kindof like the way we nickname our husbands, children, pets etc. You have so many different names for the areas in your garden. I too have several although our garden isn't near as big. Thanks for the link too.


Deborah and Jenny — It is lovely to hear from the two of you who have actual experience with this phenomenon. I can just imagine having people give you the name of their house and what that must be like; the sense of history and tradition it gives to the place where you live. I can also imagine it might be annoying if it can never be named after you or changed to the name you'd prefer.

Jenny, I am not familiar with the gardens at Snowshill but I've long been fascinated with the contents of the house. I also have some books (Buttons and Trimmings, for example) that are all based on collections at Snowshill. Mark and I are both looking forward to your post.

Frances, MMD and Lisa — I salute you for naming your gardens and appreciate all your comments.


My own little plot in the city is too small to name. For my clarification it is divided into the unimaginative front yard, side yard and back yard. I have one linden that came with the house, I think at least two are needed to have a lime walk. Because of this lone tree, I have comptemplated calling the back yard "unter dem Linden" in a nod to Berlin's famous green space. Virginia is likely the most aglophilic state in the nation and from colonial times to the present people have named their houses. This practice is carried to kitschy extremes at the many beach and river cottages used as weekend get-aways. Just how many "(insert last name here)'s -Sandcastle" can there be.


Les — I love "unter dem Linden;" it's a really subtle and sophisticated (and, yes, silly) play on words. As for the getaways, each man's home is his (sand)castle!


Linda and Mark...I refer to my property as Clay and Limestone, but the gardens all have names. The Garden Of Benign Neglect and The Susans' Garden are ones folks know the best, but I do refer to other parts of the garden~~The Wayback Backyard makes me laugh out loud. Having driven 'hook-ups' were mothers referred to the third row of seats in their Volvos as the wayback always comes to mind.

I am at heart whimsical and romantic...sliding frequently into just plain silly. Btw, I love The Witch of Blackbird Pond and read it every couple of years. gail


I haven't named anything. I was considering naming the house The Grange for a while, but that fizzled out. It's all the "front," "easeway," "side", "rose bed," and so on. I need to fire up my imagination, but it might be ridiculous to give names to such relatively small spaces. Your garden seems huge to me! Love the names.


Gail — Glad to know I am not the only one to re-read "Witch" every few years. My not-quite-first edition is hardcover with the classic illustration — a treasure. There's never been a better cover than the original.

Elizabeth — I know the size of Allentown gardens; much more similar to our first garden. The current one (a half-acre) is on a scale with my late parent's home in Orchard Park to put it in perspective for you.


We haven't named our gardens or our home, but it's a wonderful idea for practical and romantic reasons.

When discussing our garden, the Lawn Man and I call it 'Over There,' because when I'm talking about a plant he rarely knows which one I'm talking about. I just point and say "it's the one Over There." Of course he still doesn't know which one I'm pointing at.

Maybe I should officially christen the garden Over There, then start working on naming particular areas so he knows which part of Over There I'm referring to. Or not. Over There is a rather silly name for a garden.


Loved this post!, and the idea of naming homes and gardens and sections of gardens. Sparks the imaginative and creative aspects of one's life, I would think . . . and provides an extra emotional tie.

Now I'm inspired to start naming sections of our garden (such as it is). And I now want to read "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" . . . I'd not heard of it before. Alas.


Linda — Wasn't there a WWI song, "Over There"? That means there is precedence for such a name!

Inkslinger — Think you'd enjoy "Witch." As it is an old title, you should be able to find it in paperback or at your library, perhaps.


I've toyed with naming our house over the years, but like Mark, I find it a little pretentious–not that I am above pretentiousness by any means. I do have a friend who named his home Jupiter Cottage and has a plaque by the front door saying so. We also do have friends in Sandhurst, Kent, England that have an oast house (a medieval, round, barn-like structure, built for drying hops) that was named Challendon, which is what he named his wine after he planted a vineyard on the property (I designed his wine labels!). Before he purchased Callendon, the locals referred to it as "Rat's Castle."

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