Gardening Glossary

A comprehensive glossary of gardening terms

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Gardening Glossary

A

Abreuvoir

A large water container

Acid Soil

Soil with a pH level below 7

Acre

4840 square yards of land

Adonis Garden

A garden with herbal plants. Ancient Greek

Aerate

To allow air into your plants

Aerial Roots

Roots that appear above ground

Aeroponics

Roots suspended in air and receiving nutrients through mist

Agamospermy

Reproduction in seeds with the need of only one gendered sexual organ

Agriculture

Growing crops

Air Layering

A technique that allows for tree branches to root while still attached to the original plant

Alcove

A hole-like area in a room or wall

Allee

A walkway or path lined with plants

Alpine Garden

A garden comprising of plants that naturally grow in high altitudes

Alkaline Soil

Soil with a pH level above 7

American Garden

A garden that uses plants commonly found in North America

Anglo-Chinois

An English garden using themes from Chinese culture

Annuals

Plants with a life-span of less than one year

Apetalous

A petal-less flower

Apiary

Several beehives

Aquatic Plants

Plants that live in water

Arboretum

A group of trees

Arbour

A frame for plants and trees to grow around, creating a shady standalone area

Arcade

Arches and columns that form a structure

Arch

Often used as a decorative entrance to a garden

Architect

Landscape architects can be behind the design of public gardens

Armillary Sphere

A model of the globe. Often made up of metal rings. Garden ornament

Asexual Reproduction

Reproducing with only one gender sexual organ

Atrium

Large and well-lit open space within a structure

Axe

Sharp tool for cutting wood

Axial

Implies symmetry

B

Bacteria

Tiny, invisible organisms. Some are harmful, others can stimulate growth

Bare Root

Plants with roots exposed, ready to be put into soil

Basin

A bowl-like container used for plants or water for birds

Bedding Plant

A plant set in a flowerbed. Decorative

Belt

Trees planted with the intention of highlighting a view

Belvedere

A space at rooftop level with a clear view of the surroundings

Berry

Small, juicy fruits covered in thin flesh. Not all edible

Bicoloured

Plants with two colours

Biennial

A plant with a life expectancy of two years

Biodegradable

Breaks down over time causing no damage to nature

Biological Pest Control

Using natural organisms to deter other bugs and

Bipinnate

Derivatives of pinnate leaves- grow opposite on the same stem

Bolting

Plants that flower prematurely in an effort to produce seeds before they are harvested for their intended purpose

Bonsai

Japanese word for growing miniature or ornamental trees

Border

A frame of plant life around a garden area

Botanic Garden

Plants on display for the public but being grown for scientific purposes

Botanical Name

A plant’s original name, usually Latin

Bower

Shade under trees

Bract

A leaf that differs from the rest with a flower angling towards the stem

Bud

Similar to a bulb, a flower or leaf forms from a growth on a plant

Bulb

The part of a plant from which roots grow

C

Cambium

Thickening plant tissue

Canal

The part of a plant used to carry food and oxygen

Carpet Bedding

An elaborate flowerbed often arranged into a pattern or words

Cascade

Plants that overgrow and form a waterfall effect down the side of a structure

Catkin

Soft flowers that hang from some trees. The flowers are small and spiky in shape

Chainsaw

A powered tool for felling trees or removing thick branches

Chitting

Causing something to sprout by placing it in a cool environment

Chlorophyll

A plant's pigment for absorbing sunlight

Cladode

Performs the functions of a leaf but is a flattened stem

Climber

Plants that climb structures such as walls and cover them

Cloche

For protecting young outdoor plants. A small, clear cover

Coade Stone

A substitute for real stone that is less vulnerable to adverse weather conditions

Cold Frame

Used to adjust conditions to allow plants to grow out of their usual seasons

Column

A pillar that can either be freestanding for decoration or to hold up a structure

Complete Fertiliser

Compost including NPK

Compost

Decomposing organic matter

Concrete

A solid building material suitable for strong garden structures

Conifer

An evergreen, fast-growing tree

Conservatory

A building made mostly of glass usually in the corner of a garden, attached to a house

Coppice

A ground-level collection of shrubbery in a wooded area

Copse

A small collection of trees

Cordon

A plant restricted from growing anything other than its main stem

Coronary Garden

Coronary meaning crown- garden used for plants in wreaths

Corm

Part of a plant stem that stays underground. Stores nutrients for harsh weather

Courtyard Garden

An open-topped garden but enclosed by buildings. Less vegetation than a standard garden

Cover Crop

A crop to prevent weeds, erosion and insects. They also benefit overall soil quality

Crop Rotation

Changing the location of crops to prevent infestations of insects living in the soil

Cultivate

Grow plants

Cuttings

A cut of a plant from which another can be grown

D

Damping Down

Adding moisture to the floor of a greenhouse in order to make the air more humid

Damping Off

When seedlings are weakened are killed by fungi from overly humid conditions

Deadheading

Removing the dead flowers from a plant

Deciduous

When a plant sheds its leaves every year

Decking

Wooden panels on a flat surface

Dibble Stick

Used when planting seeds. A small, pointed, wooden tool for creating holes in the soil. Also known as a dibber

Dipping Pool

Small pool for small areas. Not suitable for swimming but can be waded in to. Decorative

Direct Sow

Planting seeds immediately in the garden rather that nurturing them in an indoor plant pot

Dethatch

Remove the thatch from a lawn

Dioecious Plant

Male and female reproductive parts in separate plants

Dividing

Separate plants from each other to increase individual growth and possibly grow more

Dormancy

When a plant does not grow but is not dead

Double Digging

Loosen layers of soil in order to allow more air in

Double Flower

Flowers with excessive petals or two growing from one bud

Drip Line

Regulated water controlled through a drip straight to the roots

E

Earthing Up

To cover with soil

Epiphyte

A plant that attaches itself to another but sources its own nutrients

Ericaceous Plants

Plants that often have shallow roots. Require acidic, moist soil

Erosion

Worn down by the elements over time

Espalier

A plant whose branches grow flat against a surface. Fruit bearing

Evaporation

When liquid changes to a gas

Evergreen

A plant that keeps its colour in all seasons

Exotic Species

Taken out of its natural habitat and grown in a strange environment

Eyecatcher

Something deemed aesthetically pleasing

F

F1 Hybrid

A first generation hybrid of two different plants

F2 Hybrid

Offspring of the F1

Fernery

A group of ferns

Fertiliser

Added to the soil to aid plant growth

Flat

A tray for seedlings

Floating Row Cover

A clear cover for a row of plants/ crops. Allows limited air and water with light

Flower

A part of a plant commonly identified by petals

Flowerpot

For growing or displaying plants

Flowery

Decorated with flowers

Flowery Mead

A grassy area with many flowers

Folly

A structure with no purpose besides decoration

Foliar Feeding

Feeding through the leaves rather than the roots

Forcing

Manipulating conditions to cause plants to flower or produce fruit out of season

Formal

Gardens with an ordered style. Straight lines and parallels

Frond

The leaves of certain plants

Frost

Potentially damaging to plants if they are not protected from weather

G

Garden

A space of hard or soft ground that can be decorated for public or personal use

Garden Ready Plants

Plants ready to be planted in the garden immediately

Gardenist

Someone who designs gardens

Gazebo

An open structure with access and a view to an area

Genus

Common traits allowing things to be categorised

Germinate

When something begins to sprout

Girdling

An effort to kill a tree by cutting a ring through the bark

Gnome

Porcelain human-shaped decorations for gardens

Going to Seed

When a plant has grown enough to be able to produce a seed

Grafting

One plant is grafted to another to combine the tissues of both

Ground Cover

Plants used to cover empty areas of land, usually around things like trees

Growing On

To use natural resources to encourage growth

Growing Season

The time when plants are able to grow

H

Half Hardy

Planted in unseasonal warmth

Half Hardy Annual

Planted outside when the worst of the cold has passed in an effort to get flowers throughout the warmer months

Half Hardy Perennial

Plants with a long life but need to be hardened for winter

Harden Off

Nurture plants so they can grow in more adverse conditions

Hardpan

A particularly tough layer of soil

Hardiness

How capable a plant is of surviving winter months

Hardy Perennial

A plant that can survive year round

Heavy Soil

Soil that is it is difficult for plants to grow in. Most likely due to a high amount of clay

Heeling In

A process to protect plants from the weather

Herb

A plant commonly used for flavouring in food

Herbaceous

Plants with stems that die down towards the root yearly and are not woody

Herbal

Plants for medicine

Hermitage

A secluded area ideal for a hermit

Hoe

Tool used for moving and shaping soil

Honeydew

A substance produced by plants and left on stems

Horticulture

Managing a garden

Hosepipe

A tube for watering plants

Humus

Part of soil

Hybrid

Cross-bred plants

Hydroponics

Growing plants in conditions without any soil

I

Inflorescence

How the flower is arranged on the plant it grows from

Informal

The opposite to formal, fewer restrictions on layout

Insecticide

Used to protect plants from insects

Internode

In between a plant's nodes

Interplanting

A variety of plants in one location

Irrigation

Watering an area before planting crops

K

Karesansui

Also known as a zen garden. Small, well-kept area ideal for peaceful thought

Knot Garden

Plants arranged in a ‘knot’ formation. Similar to Celtic signs

L

Labyrinth

Type of complex maze

Lateral

An offshoot from the leader stem

Lawnmower

Machine for cutting grass

Layering

An offshoot growing roots while still attached to the original

Leaching

When rain shifts the soil in such a way that nutrients for plants are lost

Leader

A primary stem or tree trunk

Leaf Mould

A mulch of dead leaves that can be used as soil

Leaflet

Leaves on a mini stem

Leggy

Spindly. Likely due to insufficient access to light

Lime

Alkali. Can determine if if a soil is alkaline by the lime content

Lime Free

Acidic soil

Lime Tolerant

Plants that can flourish in alkaline soil

Loam

A type of soil. Rich with clay

Lobed Leaves

Shaped leaves with ‘earlobe’ like indents

M

Maiden

A young tree

Maincrop

Primary crop of the season. Corn, for example

Manure

Animal waste used as fertiliser

Marginal Plants

Used around ponds or pools. They soften the transition from water to land

Mausoleum

A family tomb often found in stately gardens

Maze

A series of misleading paths with one central target which is hidden by hedges or fencing

Menagerie

Animals kept to be viewed by people. Similar to a zoo

Microclimate

An area with a different climate to its surroundings

Micro-Nutrients

Nutrients only needed in small doses but viewed as essential

Mixed Border

A garden border comprised of several plant varieties

Moat

A body of water encircling a structure

Module Trays

Split like ice trays for growing seedlings

Monoecious Plant

Plants that produce other plants with only either male or female reproductive parts

Moon Gate

A circular opening or doorway

Mosaiculture

Sculpting a 3D image from plants

Moss

Slick plants growing as a layer in moist areas

Mossery

Moss grown in a specific area

Mound

A pile. Could be a mound of soil

Mulch

Decayed leaves

N

Native Plant

Plants that grow naturally in any given area

Natural

No interference from artificial influences

Naturalise

Manipulate a plant to grow away from its natural habitat

Nectar

Collected by bees. Aids pollination

Neutral Soil

A pH level of 7. Neither acidic nor alkaline

NPK

Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash. Found in fertilisers

Node

Points on a plant from which leaves grow

Nursery Bed

Where plants are nurtured to ideal size

Nutrients

Effectively a plant’s food. Key to growth

Nymphaeum

A place designed for the mythical Nymph creatures

O

Offset

Place a plant out of the order of the rest

Orangery

A specialist area for growing oranges

Orchard

An area specifically for growing fruit bearing plants

Organic Gardening

A garden with no interference from pesticides or supplements

Oxygenator

A plant that provides oxygen underwater

P

Pale

Light colouring. Applies to leaves and petals

Palisade

A fence around an area that is best enclosed

Palmate

At least five lobes to one leaf

Panicle

A leaf with many loose branches that flower or grow some crop

Papyrus

Plant native to central Africa

Paradise

A person's haven. Gardens are often a glimpse of an individual's paradise

Parasitic Plant

A plant that leaches its essential nutrients from a neighbouring plant

Park

A public place commonly used as a play area

Parterre

A flat level used for display purposes

Patio

A paved area instead of a lawn

Peat Moss

Decayed remains of sphagnum moss

Pedestal

The structure on which statues are placed

Perennial

A plant with a long life span. Quite a few years

Perpetual

Something which continuously occurs. A plant can perpetually flower or grow fruit

Pest

An unwanted insect or animal

pH

Measures if soil is acidic, alkaline or neutral. Determines which plants can grow where

Physic Garden

A garden composed of plants used for medicine

Photosynthesis

Plants converting sunlight into their own form of sustenance

Picturesque

Pretty to look at

Pinery

A place where pineapples are grown; a forest of pine

Pinetum

A collection of pine trees

Pinching Back

Cutting back inadequate growth towards the top of a plant in order to create branching further down

Pinnate

Leaflets arranged opposite each other on a stem

Pistil

Female reproductive organs of a plant

Planter

A machine or mechanism that plants seeds instead of a person

Plat

Area of land

Pleach

Stems that interlink to form a barrier

Plinth

Like a pedestal

Podium

Like a plinth or pedestal but not necessarily for a statue

Pollard

Cut down a plant in order to manipulate new growth

Pollination

The movement of pollen through the reproductive parts of a plant. Key factor for reproduction

Pot Ready Plant

A plant ready to be planted in a pot

Potting Soil

A soil mix perfect for potted plants

Pricking Out

Moving seedlings from a shared container to their own space

Privy Garden

A private garden

Promenade

Paved walkway

Propagation

New plants from parts of the existing plant

Pruning

Cut away undesired parts of a plant for growth or aesthetics

Public Park

An open grassy area intended for public use

Pumice

A light rock. Used in skincare

Q

Quarantine

Separate plants from one another and prevent cross contamination

R

Raceme

Flowers on a stem on stalks of equal length at either side

Rake

Collects loose grass and debris when pulled over a lawn

Relative Humidity

The level of moisture in the air. If the air cannot maintain the level, it appears as dew

Repotting

Moving a plant from one pot to another

Rhizome

An underground root that sprouts at horizontal increments like a water out of holes in a hose

Rill

A small, thin stream that can be put into a garden

Rock Garden

A small area of rocks and, sometimes, plants. Low maintenance

Root

What grounds a plant and gives stability. Also the means by which they receive nutrients from the soil

Root Ball

Roots balled up

Root-bound

Roots also balled up but as a consequence of being placed in too small and environment. Can be transplanted but growth may be stunted

Rooting Hormone

A way of encouraging plants to grow separate offcuts from roots or stems

Rootstock

Impacts traits such as a plant's height

Rosarium

Rose garden

Rosette

Shaped like a rose but from manmade materials. Awarded to winners and runners-up in competitions

Runner

Grows from a plant's base

S

Sacred Grove

An area with vegetation that holds some religious connotations

Sap

Sticky, sugary liquid from plants

Scarification

Cutting a seed casing in an effort to speed up germination

Scion

A young twig cut to be added to rootstock

Seed

That from which plants grow

Seedling

A plant that has just started to grow

Self Seeder

Plants that only need to be sown once and will continue to spread seeds and grow

Shears

Large scissor-like tool for cutting plants

Shoot

A growth from the primary stem

Side Shooting

Growing from the side of the stem, often used with plants that bear fruit

Single Flower

A plant with one flower from the stem such as a daisy

Soil pH

The level that defines whether soil is acidic or alkaline

Spade

For digging large holes. Also known as a shovel

Spore

Reproductive cell

Staking

Providing sturdy support for a plant by driving wood into the ground next to it

Stewpond

For keeping fish

Stolon

A runner that roots at different points along itself

Stratification

Replicate cold weather in order to prepare seeds before planting

Strimmer

For cutting the harder to reach borders of a lawn

Stroll Garden

Of Japanese origin, includes a path and often a small pond. The placement of the path is the focal point

Succession Cropping

Utilising growing season by changing planting methods to increase supply. Requires adequate space and time

Sucker

Independent of the primary stem but a formed plant

Sundial

Used to tell the time by shadow placement. Now ornamental

Systemic

To have a system in place

T

Tap Root

The main root from which others splay out from

Tender Plants

Plants vulnerable to certain temperatures

Tendril

Parts of plants that allow them to cling on to structures

Terrace

Another name for a patio

Terracotta

A type of clay that is often incorporated into decorative garden features

Thatch

A straw covering

Thinning

Remove the excess from a plant

Tilth

To cultivate or prepare soil

Top-Dress

Layering levels of a lawn to maintain one steady level and improve general quality of both soil and grass

Topiary

Shaped hedges

Topsoil

A layer of soil over the existing one in your garden

Transpiration

The changing of water to vapour through travelling to the underside of a plant’s leaves

Transplanting

Moving a plant

Treillage

Trellis like design but meant for vines to entwine through

Trellis

A wooden fencing-type structure. Often is a lattice design

Trowel

Small hand tool for digging

Tuber

Used for plants to survive ‘unnatural’ weather conditions. Modified to store extra nutrients

Tufa

A porous rock

U

Umbel

A single plant with several flowering heads on offshoots of the same length. The offshoots spread out to look like a dome

Underplanting

Fill the area around a tall plant (such as a tree) with smaller plants that require less space

Urn

Large, stylish pottery that can be used for plants

V

Variegated

When leaves contain two separate colours

Vault

A covering for an area that uses arches on more than one side

Ventilation

Getting fresh air to plants to help growth

Vermiculite

A mineral that expands in heat

W

Waterlogged

Overwhelmed by the volume of water. Common with lawns in rainy places with insufficient drainage

Water-pump

Circulates air through standing water

Weathering

When rocks are eroded or broken down by wind and rain

Weed

An unwanted plant

Wheelbarrow

A container on wheels for moving large quantities around the garden

Whip

A thin branch with no leaves or flowering

Wilderness

When a garden is neglected and becomes overgrown

Wilt

When unsuitable weather conditions cause leaves to wither

Winter Garden

A garden with plants used to growing in wintery conditions

Wire

Can be used in fencing or enclosures

Wrought Iron

Commonly used for large, decorative gates

X

Xerophyte

Plants, such as cacti, that grow in regions with little water

Xystus

Roman. Open air terrace for walking

Y

Yew

A type of tree

Yield

Producing something such as a crop. Term used for crops we eat

Z

Zinc

Nutrient found in fertilisers

Zygote

A diploid cell

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