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Garden or Gardens?

I am the chair of our neigh­bor­hood gar­den tour com­mit­tee, and I have been asked can one say “gar­dens” when refer­ring to the dif­fer­ent type of gar­dens in their yards, or must they used “gar­den” to refer to the entire property.

I think the use of “gar­dens” denote var­i­ous types of gar­dens in the prop­erty would be appro­pri­ate. Please let me know what you think.

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  1. Using Wikipedia for guide­lines, it appears that “gar­den” and “gar­den” are used for large, famous areas, e.g., Garden of the Taj Mahal, India, and Royal gar­dens of Reggia di Caserta, Italy. Here in Phoenix we have Desert Botanical Garden, a vast area with many smaller areas, some of which are called such-and-such garden.

    The American Heritage Dictionary says, “2. often gar­dens — Grounds laid out with flow­ers, trees, and orna­men­tal shrubs and used for recre­ation or dis­play: pub­lic gar­dens; a botan­i­cal gar­den. http://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=garden&submit.x=48&submit.y=22

    The ety­mol­ogy of the word gar­den­ing refers to enclo­sure: it is from Middle English gardin, from Anglo-French gardin, jardin, of Germanic ori­gin; akin to Old High German gard, gart, an enclo­sure or com­pound, as in Stuttgart. The words yard, court, and Latin hor­tus (mean­ing “gar­den,” hence hor­ti­cul­ture and orchard), are cog­nates — all refer­ring to an enclosed space. The term “gar­den” in British English refers to a small enclosed area of land, usu­ally adjoin­ing a build­ing. This would be referred to as a yard in American English. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden

    CONCLUSION: (1) In refer­ring to the neigh­bor­hood tour, it is usual to say “Neighborhood Garden Tour,” but the word “neigh­bor­hood” clearly sug­gests “gar­den” is plural. So the Neighborhood Garden Tour will cover a num­ber of gar­dens. (2) Using “gar­dens” to describe the dif­fer­ent types of gar­dens in their yards is just fine.

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