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Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 02:05 AM
Quick question - what would a British person traditionally use to describe these pervasive plants, which cause so many problems to farmers?

I particularly want an English traditional word. My (English, well-bred) character describes an unkempt Scottish estate as "miles of scrub in the middle of nowhere" - but I'm not sure that the word "scrub" is appropriate (it might be particularly antipodean).

So, can any English gardener help me? How would YOU describe "miles of scrub in the middle of nowhere"?

Paul
08-13-2010, 02:29 AM
Quick question - what would a British person traditionally use to describe these pervasive plants, which cause so many problems to farmers?

I particularly want an English traditional word. My (English, well-bred) character describes an unkempt Scottish estate as "miles of scrub in the middle of nowhere" - but I'm not sure that the word "scrub" is appropriate (it might be particularly antipodean).

So, can any English gardener help me? How would YOU describe "miles of scrub in the middle of nowhere"?

Scotland.
he he .

called gorse in Ireland , assume its the same in England, but Scotland might be different. (different places you see...) Edit - oh the char is English, scrub sounds reasonable.

waylander
08-13-2010, 02:38 AM
Being from the New Forest I would call it gorse.
But......is it gorse your character is looking at, or heather? Where is this Scottish estate?

Paul
08-13-2010, 02:45 AM
Hey Way, how was the holiday?

Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 02:50 AM
Being from the New Forest I would call it gorse.
But......is it gorse your character is looking at, or heather? Where is this Scottish estate?

because it is only a side remark (the characters don't go to the estate and it makes no difference to the storyline), I have been lazy and haven't chosen a particular place in Scotland! It would be close to the English border, though.

What I'm trying to convey is a small holding of land, which the absentee owner has allowed to "go to seed". Where I'm from, this would mean that gorse would very quickly take over, and the land would become unmanageable/unproductive in a short while.

Would an English uban dweller use the word "scrub" in this instance, do you think?

Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 02:51 AM
Scotland.
he he .



:D cheeky!

Paul
08-13-2010, 02:57 AM
:D cheeky!

yup.

'scrub' wouldn't be a problem, or scrubland, I dont think they'd be that much of a difference in this case between US and UK, unless you used an unusual colloquialism

Jessianodel
08-13-2010, 03:50 AM
Scotland aka Scrubland

Sorry, couldn't resist :D Honestly, being from the US it sounds perfectly fine, but of course the story isn't in the Us so I have no idea.

Not much help, I know. :Shrug:

Paul
08-13-2010, 03:53 AM
Scotland aka Scrubland

Sorry, couldn't resist :D

em, I already made that joke - so that's infringement - that'll be two rep points please.

Fenika
08-13-2010, 06:16 AM
Are you from NZ per chance? I was told gorse goes apeshit in NZ but grows in nice little rows in England. That might be an exaggeration, but I'm guessing England/UK will at least have more initial variety when 'going to seed' than in NZ, where gorse takes over in a solid sheet initially.

Polenth
08-13-2010, 06:54 AM
Are you from NZ per chance? I was told gorse goes apeshit in NZ but grows in nice little rows in England. That might be an exaggeration, but I'm guessing England/UK will at least have more initial variety when 'going to seed' than in NZ, where gorse takes over in a solid sheet initially.

Gorse doesn't usually form solid mats or rows. It tends to grow in little clumps. For most areas, I'd expect to see a lot of bracken with some gorse patchs (if it started out as heathland or grassland with some cover of gorse). If it was heathland, heather would continue to survive in some areas, but most of it would die back as the bracken grew over it.

Gorse is frost-sensitive, so the further north you go, the more the gorse will struggle.

Trees would colonise in the first year. Birch is the main coloniser, with ash in some places. Most of England and Scotland was forest before people came - heaths and scrublands were created through grazing and tree clearance. So when left alone, most areas return to forest very quickly.

An area that used to be an estate probably has some holly, as this was planted to mark land borders in the past. It's not unusual to see holly growing in rows or in clumps on hilltops, marking where the boundaries used to be.

In short: call it scrub and don't go too heavy on the gorse. Holly rows are a nice touch for the old estate feel.

Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 06:59 AM
Are you from NZ per chance? I was told gorse goes apeshit in NZ but grows in nice little rows in England.

Good guess! And "apeshit" is about the right description of gorse here. It's a real headache for farmers.
Just one of the delightful imports that the British brought to the colonies to make themselves feel more at home... ;)

Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 07:00 AM
Trees would colonise in the first year. Birch is the main coloniser, with ash in some places. Most of England and Scotland was forest before people came - heaths and scrublands were created through grazing and tree clearance. So when left alone, most areas return to forest very quickly.

An area that used to be an estate probably has some holly, as this was planted to mark land borders in the past. It's not unusual to see holly growing in rows or in clumps on hilltops, marking where the boundaries used to be.

In short: call it scrub and don't go too heavy on the gorse. Holly rows are a nice touch for the old estate feel.

Thanks - that's really helpful :) I didn't know that about the holly as boundary markers; good tip.

rugcat
08-13-2010, 07:08 AM
I used to have a little pocket dictionary (yes, there once were such things) and it gave rather terse definitions.

I remember once looking up furze. It said, simply: whin; gorse. When I looked up whin, it said: gorse; furze. And of course, gorse read: whin; furze

blacbird
08-13-2010, 07:55 AM
When I lived in England, everybody I ever met called it "gorse". Ditto Scotland.

Steam&Ink
08-13-2010, 11:25 AM
I used to have a little pocket dictionary (yes, there once were such things) and it gave rather terse definitions.

I remember once looking up furze. It said, simply: whin; gorse. When I looked up whin, it said: gorse; furze. And of course, gorse read: whin; furze

:evil great dictionary if you're a foreigner...

pdr
08-13-2010, 02:58 PM
whin or furze, and broom, Sp, had a real use in the north of England and our forebears imported it to NZ for the same reasons.

Dried gorse burns up very quickly and gives a hot flame so it was used in bread ovens and as kindling. It also produces soft green growth very early in the year and so provided a fresh green bite for stock. Of course in NZ's much milder climate it went mad and just grew.

I don't remember scrubland being a term used in the north. Ask Scarlet Peaches.

Mr Flibble
08-13-2010, 03:16 PM
I wouldn't call it scrub myself (that would be more small trees etc, to me anyway) - heath or moor/ heathland/moorland etc would be a more likely term I'd think? And gorse is, well, just gorse. And no it doesn't go mad. Bracken on the other hand...yeah that goes mad.

shaldna
08-13-2010, 03:27 PM
And gorse is, well, just gorse. And no it doesn't go mad. Bracken on the other hand...yeah that goes mad.


seagrass. grrrr.

Shakesbear
08-13-2010, 06:09 PM
Bramble. When land is neglected you get bramble. And nettles. They grow from the seeds that birds drop - so the land has gone to seed. Scotland hasn't gone to seed as bramble and nettles are the basic food of Haggii (plural of haggis).

Kenn
08-14-2010, 01:38 AM
It all depends what you mean by a Scottish Estate. Many estates have vast expanses of moors which by definition are pretty unkempt and in the middle of nowhere. If you mean a lowland farm, then generally gorse would not be the biggest problem. With time, the land would be likely to get overgrown by various thorny bushes and shrubs (although it would depend on the location and soil type). These tend to be used in hedgerows so they spread quite quickly. You'd probably get the odd tree sprouting up with time as well. I, like most other people I know, I would refer to it as an 'overgrown wilderness'; despite the slight tautology. I am English and was once an urbanite! Technically the intrusive species you would probably call weeds or brushwood. The latter could be used to describe the area as well. Scrubland or scrub means something different to me (lacking fertility rather than overgrown) and heaths/moors are something different (they refer to vegetation type).

Mr Flibble
08-14-2010, 01:44 AM
Bramble. When land is neglected you get bramble. And nettles.

Don't get me started! It comes through from next door. Nothing bloody shifts it cos I can't get to the roots! And convolvulus! Ack! (which I've seen take a bit of a stranglehold - pun intended - in hedgerows round here just lately. Might be too far north in Scotland though)

shaldna
08-14-2010, 02:23 AM
We have japenese knotweed growing at the bottom of our garden, and nothing short of napalm is going to get rid of it.

RobinGBrown
08-16-2010, 12:57 PM
in English scrub means to clean somethign vigorously. So no an English person wouldn't describe it as 'miles of scrub'.

'Miles of gorse' doesn't work too well either. I'm actually originally from the borders area, albeit south of the line rather than north. It's mostly grass and heather whihc is moors. so miles and miles of empty moors is probably a better choice.

Go to Google Maps and enter 'Hadrian's Wall', switch on the More > Photos option and have a looksee.

Steam&Ink
08-17-2010, 02:27 AM
Thanks you guys. I think I'm going to use "miles of bramble in the middle of nowhere" when she scornfully describes the land.
I have learnt a LOT about scottish weeds/plants, though! It's been fascinating :)

waylander
08-17-2010, 10:58 AM
You might add the phrase 'and no bl##dy grouse'.
Moorland such as you describe would be valuable if there was good grouse shooting there.