How Does Your Garden Grow?

Written by Alana Jolley

March 13, 2014

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary,

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, how does your garden grow? is a popular nursery rhyme in both American and British cultures.  In American culture, where everything is fast, especially food, how does your garden grow is a very pertinent question.  But even Brits are having a hard time with answers.

 A recent survey revealed unfathomable ignorance about fruits and vegetables.  Most people in Britain do not know which vegetables grow where, in any garden, not even Mary’s garden.  A survey of 2,000 Brits found that twenty percent of people think melons grow under ground. Less than a hundred years ago, every home  had a garden with most likely melons growing on vines above the ground.  Today, the survey indicated that ten percent of those who were polled think tomatoes, like potatoes, are dug from the ground.  Some believe Granny Smith is a potato! Granny Smith would be disappointed to think that she was a potato and not an apple.

What might children learn from those in the survey who are parents?  What if they ask, “Where does a carrot come from?”  What if the answer was, “Everybody knows they grow on trees!” Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary would be extremely contrary if she thought people did not know exactly what grows in a garden! The survey gives us plenty of food for thought, because important cultural information must be passed down from generation to generation for a culture to remain successful.  If people can’t pass on correct information about what grows in a garden, what does that say about the other cultural knowledge that is being passed on?  Explore More! within a Cultural Anthropology format.  Learn about the Global Villages and the people that live in them.


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