at the bottom of the garden

Armine_Rahim

Senior Member
Russian-Belarus
If you want to help us, we're going to paint these trees at the bottom of the garden.
What meaning does 'at the bottom of' have here?
 
  • Armine_Rahim

    Senior Member
    Russian-Belarus
    I don't know, it's a sentence from my textbook. But I suppose it's like 'to cure a tree from insects that do harm to the tree'.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I do not know for sure, but in a more closer meaning it can mean that it a part of the territory.
    The term "bottom of the garden" is very clear. It means the end limit of the piece of land that's cultivated and called 'garden'. We don't know exactly what sort of garden it might be, but we think of the back garden of a house.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi Norbert

    'Typo' means a typing mistake, or a copying mistake or a misreading. Painting trees is an extremely unusual activity which will kill the trees! I think it should be planting trees.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I just saw that usage in Julian Symon's The Blackheath Poisonings where it was at the back of the house down a slope and farthest away on a biggish estate. We don't use that term much in the US and it would probably be reserved for the lowest part of the land. We do say somewhat ironically, "the lower 40" (acres) as if you were on a farm.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It doesn't have anything to do with 'lower' lying land; 'the bottom of the garden' means quite simply where the garden ends and another person's garden/land/property begins.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It doesn't have anything to do with 'lower' lying land; 'the bottom of the garden' means quite simply where the garden ends and another person's garden/land/property begins.
    My house is built on a hillside. There's no way I could call the far end of my garden, where my neighbour's garden begins, "the bottom of my garden" as it's significantly higher up. The "bottom of my garden" is where the rain runs down to. If it were on flatter land, I would agree with Hermione.
     
    If I had a very particular situation, like having a house built on a hillside, and a garden running from it down a very steep slope, so steep that rain would run down to its end, essentially turning into a pit, ditch, or gully, and so this having absolutely nothing to do with where my property ends and another's begins, then I'd have no trouble saying "at the bottom of my garden." :)

    That would be a personally unique description of my landscape, hardly in the same category as the set expression in AE, "at the end of my garden."
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    To further muddy the waters, I believe what BE calls a garden is what AE calls the back yard. In AE a "garden" is a specific area where vegetables and/or flowers are planted.
     

    Fagin

    Banned
    Russian
    That would be a personally unique description of my landscape, hardly in the same category as the set expression in AE, "at the end of my garden."
    Just bumped into this:

    A few weeks ago Rachel mentioned that she plans to raise goats. She said the hawthorn tree at the bottom of her garden is perfect for them to climb on.
    Under the Harrow, Flynn Berry

    It looks like this is a regular expression in Britain:

    "at the bottom of the garden" site:books.google.com - 310 hits

    And they raise goats that climb the trees at the bottom of their gardens.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The phrase has become a set expression in British English partly at least through Rose Fyleman's poem Fairies (1920s):
    There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
    It's not so very, very far away;
    You pass the gardner's shed and you just keep straight ahead --
    I do so hope they've really come to stay
    .
    Full text at Poets' Corner - Rose Fyleman - Selected Works.

    This coincided with Conan Doyle's article on the fairies of Cottingley (Cottingley Fairies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
     
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