plenty in the asparagus-bed

chong lee

Senior Member
The quote is from the story "For The Duration Of The War" by H. H. Munro.

Is that a joke ? Why the asparagus is not in the garden?

Thank you.

"Is there any asparagus in the garden?" asked Beryl; "because I've told cook --"

"Not anywhere in the garden," snapped the Rector, "but there's no doubt plenty in the asparagus-bed, which is the usual place for it."
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Why is the asparagus not in the garden?
    I'm not familiar with the story from which this is quoted, but apparently the rector uses the word "garden" to mean only a decorative place where flowers are grown. So I suppose he would not expect anyone to find asparagus there.

    We, on the other hand, often use "bed" and "garden" interchangeably: A "flower bed" is an area where flowers grow. A "vegetable garden" is an area where vegetables are grown. "Vegetable garden" doesn't seem to be in the rector's vocabulary.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'bed' is a special area of the garden devoted to growing certain plants. Asparagus is always grown in a special area called the asparagus bed in a vegetable garden. This is because it is a perennial vegetable, coming up year after year unlike other vegetables. The point is that most English people could be expected to know this, but his wife chooses to remain ignorant about such mundane things. They are an unhappy couple.

    chong lee

    Senior Member
    For me a garden is a place where all plants grow - vegetables and flowers even animals (chicken).
    Thanks Hermione Golightly.
    Thanks Parla.


    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    I have a vegie garden along with the usual garden. I grow asparagus. It grows in its own separate bed because asparagus, apart from being a perennial, hates competition (for nutrition) of any kind. I say I have asparagus in the garden.
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