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A soldier of fortune had established their modest dynasty, lying low there for reasons that were not known. Some time in the early eighteenth century the family had moved east, respectable and wellto- do by then, one son or another of each generation continuing the family’s army connection. The land at Lahardane was purchased; the building of the house began. The long, straight avenue was made, lines of chestnut trees planted along it on either side, the woodlands of the glen laid out. Later generations planted the orchard, with stock from County Armagh; the garden, kept small, was created bit by bit.

Does "stock" mean: a supply that is good for planting and the whole sentence mean: the orchard that was becoming small again was created gradually by the supply that came from County Armagh?

Source: The Story of Lucy Tale by William Trevor.

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3 Answers 3

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The long, straight avenue was made, lines of chestnut trees planted along it on either side, the woodlands of the glen laid out. Later generations planted the orchard, with stock from County Armagh; the garden, kept small, was created bit by bit.

with stock from County Armagh - this means that the cuttings were obtained from plants located at County Armagh (one of the traditional counties of Ireland and one of six counties that form Northern Ireland) and were used for creating their orchard.

From Merriam Webster:

stock - a plant from which slips or cuttings are taken. (I believe you saw the very first definition, which got you confused)

the garden, kept small, was created bit by bit - this means that they did not expand their orchard largely, but kept it comparatively small in size and delicately simple. It was, however, a long process of bringing in the plants and planting them one by one, patiently and wholeheartedly.

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"Stock" here means seeds or seedlings.

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The stock for an orchard (quoting from Lexico) is variously

stock
NOUN

4.1 A breed, variety, or population of an animal or plant.
the vineyards were ploughed up and replanted using different vine stock

5 The trunk or woody stem of a living tree or shrub, especially one into which a graft (scion) is inserted.
Many of the modern roses in commerce today are grafted onto these stocks.

Also used as rootstock. Lexico says

rootstock
NOUN

2 A plant on to which another variety is grafted.
As a consequence, most people prefer to plant apple trees that have been grafted onto dwarfing rootstock.

The garden description follows a semicolon, which could as well be a fullstop (period), and is unrelated to the orchard description. So for clarity the sentence could be broken into:

Later generations planted the orchard, with stock from County Armagh.
The garden, kept small, was created bit by bit.

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  • Lots of thanks, so dose you mean: They planted apple tree that was not tall? so "kept small" refers to trees that never became very tall? Dec 4, 2020 at 20:25
  • No, the "kept small" refers to the garden, not the orchard, as shown in the last two sentences of my answer. The garden and the orchard are two separate areas. Dec 4, 2020 at 20:28
  • so Does the "The garden, kept small, was created bit by bit." means: they created the garden bit by which many years was small? Dec 5, 2020 at 9:25
  • The garden was kept small means it stayed the same size. Dec 5, 2020 at 9:28

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