Find the fine line between these garden terms

1. As you plan your summer garden, do you remember, recall, or recollect last year's flowers?

2. Does a seed packet hold or contain seeds?

3. If your spade can finally penetrate the earth, can you surmise or infer that spring has arrived?

4. Is the new growth every year a mystery or a puzzle to humans?

5. Do your flower beds have borders or edges?


(1) Since last season was less than a year away, it probably does not take a lot of effort to bring it to mind; therefore, you'd 'remember' it. To 'recall' suggests an effort, and to 'recollect' means that something is lost or scattered and its memory hazy; (2) A seed packet 'holds' seeds. Both 'hold' and 'contain' imply the presence of a substance within something. But 'hold' also suggests the permanent function of containing or keeping. There's a slight difference between a can that 'contains' a quart and one that 'holds' a quart; (3) You can 'infer,' which implies arriving at a conclusion by reasoning based on evidence. If the evidence is slight and suggests the influence of imagination or suspicion, then you'd 'surmise.' Loose earth is hard evidence of a change of season; (4) The phenomenon of new life every spring is a 'mystery to humans, meaning that it cannot be fully understood by reason. A 'puzzle' applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution; (5) They have 'borders,' or parts of a surface that mark its boundary line. A magazine cover may have a colorful border. A flower garden may have a ground cover that acts as a border to separate garden and lawn. An 'edge' is the terminal line made by two converging surfaces, as you'd have on a box or a table.

SOURCES: Merriam-Webster's Guide to Synonyms, The Random House Dictionary, Webster's Dictionary, The World Book Dictionary.

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