Gardener, The [Child 219]

DESCRIPTION: A "gardener" comes to a lady, offering many flowers if she will marry him. She is not interested.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1766 (Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle)
KEYWORDS: courting flowers rejection gardening
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Child 219, "The Gardener' (3 texts)
Bronson 219, "The Gardener" (9 versions+3 in addenda, but #1 at least is "The Gairdner and the Plooman")
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 219, "The Gardener" (2 versions: #3, #5)
Greig/Duncan4 840, "The Gardener" (5 texts, 4 tunes)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #42, pp. 1-2, "The Gardener Lad" (1 text)
Leach-TheBalladBook, p. 577, "The Gardener" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 159, "The Gardener" (1 text)
Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads 55, "The Gardener" (1 text)
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 116 note, "The Gardener" (1 text)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, p. 68, "The Gardener" (1 text)
Morgan-MedievalBallads-ChivalryRomanceAndEverydayLife, pp. 50-51, "The Gardener" (1 text)

Roud #339
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "The Gairdener Chyld" (on SCMacCollSeeger01) {cf. Bronson's #6}
The Gairdener Chylde
The Gardener's Wooing
NOTES [155 words]: One can only suspect that this piece was made up to get in as many flower symbols as possible; at least, there seems little point to most of the imagery. For a catalog of some of the sundry flower symbols, see the notes to "The Broken-Hearted Gardener."
Child prints a text (additions and corrections to "The Gardener", p. 258 in Volume V of the Dover edition) which conflates this with "In My Garden Grew Plenty of Thyme" or something similar.
The song is also sometimes confused with "The Gairdener and the Plooman" (which see).
Although most mentions of flower symbolism in the ballads seem to go back to the Elizabethan-era symbols, it is perhaps worth noting that in the Victorian era there arose a form of flower arrangement known as Tussy Mussy, which was intended to convey meaning. The Chinese and Japanese also had art forms in which flower arrangements had meaning, but these surely did not affect British ballads! - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C219

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