Friday, January 18, 2013

Gardner* + Gardener* (for Gardener* or Gardner*)

Today's combination typo is one of "high probability" on the Ballard list, garnering 76 hits in OhioLINK and 623 in WorldCat. These include a number of false positives (e.g., The terrace gardener's handbook: raising plants on a balcony, terrace, rooftop, penthouse, or patio; drawings by Sue Gardner), but the majority are surely typos for either Gardener or Gardner (surnames) or gardener (the common noun). When I was a kid growing up in the country and surrounded by lots of informal gardens (the most nearly Edenic of which had long been dubbed "The Love Garden"), the bus driver who ferried us budding young flowers to and from our grade school was called "Gardner" (or possibly "Gardener" or "Gardiner"). I'm actually not quite sure how he spelled it, or even whether it was his first name or his last name—it was simply the way we all greeted him, carefully climbing onto the bus each morning and carelessly jumping off again in the late afternoon. It was a long ride, and I recall often cramming for my spelling test (the list had been handed out to us the previous week) on my Monday morning commute. In any case, it was always nice to see Gardner. He was handsome and kind and looked sort of like a cowboy to me. (He actually took my side one time when I cracked a classmate over the head with my plaid metal lunchbox, after he had gratuitously punched me in the nose.) That was really all I ever knew about the man, but he's remained in my memory ever since. Remember to take a look back at the Gard[e]ners in your own catalogs and see to it that they're all spelled the way they should be.

(Gardeners, lithograph by József Rippl-Rónai, 1896, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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