We would more easily recognize the origins of this word if we spelled it “hortyard,” for orchard derives from the twin roots that gave rise to horticulture and yard. An orchard is a stand of trees, usually but not always cultivated, bearing fruit, nuts, or sap. Orchards on the high plateau of eastern Washington yield apples, those in lower Michigan yield cherries, while those in Georgia bear mouthwatering peaches. Although Oregon’s filberts may also be said to come from orchards, plantations of nut-bearing trees are usually called groves, as are the orange and grapefruit plantations of Florida, Texas, and California. While a stand of sugar maples may also be called an orchard, it is more commonly, and sweetly, called a sugarbush.

Scott Russell Sanders