Don't plant roses in another man's garden

Don’t plant roses in another man’s garden

Is a saying which I have held in high regard for a while, though it has taken on a new meaning recently.

Garden has an interesting etymological background. In Dutch, a garden is a “tuin” which shares a root with the German “zaun” meaning fence, and the English “Town”, meaning a village surrounded by a wall. The connecting factor between these is the fact that they either define-, or are in themselves- borders.

If one therefore wishes to follow the saying, it is supposedly necessary for a man to define the borders of his garden in order for the encroachment to be recognized.

Furthermore, I wish to point out that the saying comes in two forms, one concerning the planting of roses, and the other, that of flowers in general. I think the planting of flowers does not necessarily entail encroachment, though of course the rose holds a special significance.

Thus far, the saying seems clear. If a garden is defined (of which you are not a part), do not (attempt to) plant roses in it. This is the reading that seemed most sensible to me especially taking the Dutch etymology into account. The English “garden” on the other hand is a place less private than the Dutch might imply. In modern times especially, open garden design seems to become more and more popular, whether influenced my the English or otherwise.

This leaves the question of planting roses (or flowers) in a tuin without a zaun. Especially if one is invited for a visit to the garden or even encouraged to partake in the beauty of the preexisting flora. The encroachment seems then to be more the construction of a new garden, or private area inside to which either of the owners is not privy.