Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
As the weather turns warmer, many people love to head outdoors to dig in the dirt, plants seeds and watch them grow.
Gardening is a very popular hobby. And it is one that produces wonderful results – food for your dinner table and flowers for your home!
Gardens themselves can be very beautiful. So you would think that a garden path is a great place to be. Well, in conversation, it is not. Leading someone up the garden path means you are trying to trick them. You are not trying to show them your beautiful flowers.
Speaking of beautiful flowers, gardeners love to see small buds forming on their plants.
Besides plants and flowers, people can bud, too. If a child is good at drawing and painting, we can call him a budding artist. Or if someone just completed law school, we can call her a budding lawyer. So "budding" describes something that is beginning to develop.
On the opposite end, you stop something from growing if you nip it in the bud. This is a common expression when we talk about stopping something bad and preventing it from continuing. It's good to nip small problems in the bud before they turn into big problems.
Now flowers that bloom are beautiful to see -- even garden-variety flowers.
"Garden-variety" describes anything that is common and not so special. You can have a garden-variety cold -- not a serious illness. You can have a garden-variety problem at work -- nothing special, just a common problem with a colleague.
Now, a problem that many gardeners have is weeds. Weeds grow easily and can quickly take over a garden. In conversation, we sometimes use "weeds" to mean too many details. So, if you are in the weeds, you are taken over by too many details.
Often, we put ourselves in the weeds. That usually happens when someone knows a lot about a topic.
For example, let's say a politician is giving a speech on affordable housing. But she gives too much information on the legislative process needed to accomplish her goal. You could say, "She is really in the weeds. People stopped listening 20 minutes ago. They just want to know if they are going to be able to buy a house or not. They are not interested in all these boring details."
From politics to sports to movies, you can be in the weeds on any topic.
As we said, weeds grow quickly. So do children. So, we like to say a child grows like a weed.
This expression compares a child's fast growth to that of a weed. Saying a child grows like a weed, does not compare a child to a weed in any other way – like being annoying or unwanted. So, you can use it with family, friends or even at work as you talk about your boss's child.
Some weeds may not be pretty to look at, but flowers in full bloom are beautiful!
Blooms that appear later than others can be among the most surprising. When a person is a late bloomer, it means they became successful, attractive or developed a skill at a later time in life than other people.
So, being a late bloomer is a good thing. Being a blooming idiot is not. This insult describes someone who is lacking in common sense – severely lacking.
Now, let's hear some of these expressions used in a short dialogue.
Thanks for inviting me out for a walk. I didn't know this park had such beautiful flower gardens.
I know! Nobody knows it's here. It's like a hidden treasure in the city.
I really need to walk off some of my mom's home cooking. I ate so much on my trip home last weekend!
How is everyone back home?
Oh, they're doing fine. I hadn't seen my sister and her son for a long time. So, it was nice to catch up with them.
How old is your nephew?
He just turned 16 and is growing like a weed. He's taller than I am now! And he's so smart. He actually gave me a great business idea that turned out to be the perfect solution for a problem I was having.
Sounds like your nephew is a budding businessman!
He totally is! His ideas have been better than a woman on my development team. I actually had to fire her last week.
Well, it was strange. She was fine when you talked with her one-on-one. But every time we met with buyers, she turned into a blooming idiot.
Ha, "blooming idiot" -- I haven't heard that in a long time! What did she do?
Well, at client meetings she would make strange noises, like a bird, when others were talking. Then when she wanted to make a strong point, she would throw pencils around the room. I mean ... who does that?
A blooming idiot.
Exactly! And she wasn't your garden-variety idiot.
What was so special about her idiocy?
She seemed mentally unstable. So, I nipped that problem in the bud.
It's best to take care of a problem like that quickly. I'm sure you made the right decision. Your business has been really successful. You must really love what you do.
I do. And when it comes to my career, you could say I'm a late bloomer. When I was younger, I had so many jobs that I hated. It took me much longer than other people to find work that I love.
I'd rather be a late bloomer. I went to high school with a girl who had perfect grades, was a superstar athlete and was also the prettiest and most popular girl in school. But I think the pressure to succeed after such a great high school experience was too much for her.
What happened to her?
She kind of gave up. I've heard that she's been married three times, is unemployed and has a serious drinking problem. Sorry, to drag you into the weeds. That's way too much information about someone you don't know.
That's okay. I went to school with a similar guy. It sometimes happens to people who bloom too soon. Good to be a late bloomer!
And that brings us to the end of Words and Their Stories. Do you have a favorite garden idiom? Or are you more of a weeds idiom kind of person? Let us know in the comments section.
I'm Anna Matteo.
1. drawing and painting 绘画
Winslow got his interest in drawing and painting from his mother.
2.affordable housing 经济适用房；可承受住房；经适房；保障性住房；经济房
Exorbitant housing prices have created an acute shortage of affordable housing for the poor.
3. walk off 走开；通过散步来消化；离开工作
He tried to walk off the annoyance his son gave him.
In our school, students can have one-on-one time with teachers.
花园本身就很美丽。所以你会觉得花园是一个很好的地方 。嗯，在交谈中，它并不是这样 。“leading someone up the garden path（诱人误入歧途）”意思是你企图骗人，而不是向某人展示花园里漂亮的鲜花 。
除了植物和花朵，人也可以开始长大。如果一个孩子擅长绘画，我们可以称呼他为一个初露头角的艺术家（a budding artist） 。如果一个人刚从法学院毕业，我们可以说她是一个初出茅庐的律师（a budding lawyer） 。所以“budding”形容一些开始发展的事物 。
相反，如果你把某物消灭在萌芽状态（nip it in the bud），你是阻止它的生长。当我们谈论阻止一些坏的事物继续发展的时候，这是一个常用的表达 。小事化无，防患于未然 。
“寻常的”形容那些普通且不是那么特别的事物。你可能会得普通感冒——不严重的那种 。工作上可能会有常见的问题——不是特殊的那种，只是同事间的常见问题 。
许多园艺爱好者都会被杂草（weeds）所困扰，杂草生命力旺盛、很快就能长满整个花园。交际中，我们有时用“weeds”来表示太多的细节 。所以，如果说“if you are in the weeds”，意思就是“你太过拘泥于细节” 。
我们会经常“put ourselves in the weeds（啰嗦）”，当某个人对某个话题知道得太多时就会出现这种情况。
比如说，我们假设有个政治家正在做一个关于经济适用房的演讲，但是她的演讲中说了太多关于实现目标所需要的立法程序的信息。这个时候你就可以说，“她真得很啰嗦（She is really in the weeds） 。听众们20分钟前就没有在听了，他们只想知道自己能不能买房，对于那些细节他们根本不在意 。”
整如我们所说，杂草生长很快。孩子也是 。所以，我们喜欢说孩子像小草一样成长（a child grows like a weed） 。
这个表达把孩子的快速成长和小草的快速生长作对比。说“a child grows like a weed（孩子像小草一样成长）”，这并没有将孩子和小草的其他方面作对比，比如小草的惹人厌或者被嫌弃 。所以，这个表达可以在家里、朋友间使用，甚至可以在上班时用来形容老板的孩子 。
比其他花晚开的花是最令人意外的事情之一了。当一个人大器晚成（a late bloomer），意思是他们比其他人要晚的时候才变得成功，有魅力或者练就一项技能 。
所以，成为一个大器晚成者是一件好事。但成为一个大傻瓜（a blooming idiot）就不是好事了 。这个侮辱人的表达形容一个人严重缺乏常识 。
哦，他们都很好。我很长一段时间没见过我姐和她儿子了 。所以，赶上他们在挺好 。
他刚满16岁，长得特别快。他现在比我高啦！他也很聪明 。实际上他给我提了一个很好的商业点子，正好能完美解决我现在遇到的一个问题 。
嗯，很奇怪。当你和她面对面说的时候，她表现挺好 。但是每次我们和客户见面的时候，她就成了一个大傻子 。
那种问题最好是迅速处理。我敢肯定你做了正确的决定 。你的生意真得很成功 。你一定很热爱你所做的 。
我确实是。提到我的事业，你可能会说我是大器晚成 。当我年轻的时候，我做了很多我讨厌的工作 。我比其他人花了更久的时间找到自己喜欢的工作 。
我宁愿成为一个大器晚成的人。我高中有个女孩，成绩好，又是超级运动员，还是学校里最漂亮最受欢迎的女生 。但我想在如此华丽的高中经历之后再想成功，对她来说，压力太大了 。
她有点自暴自弃。我听说她结了三次婚，没有工作，有严重的酗酒问题 。对不起，拉着你啰嗦了这么多 。说了太多你不认识的人的事情 。
没事。我上学时候也认识一个相似的男孩 。成名太早的人有时候是会这样的 。大器晚成挺好！