Gardening dictionary of common names and their meanings.

Comfy Country Creations

dictionary of

common gardening terms

Comfy Country Creations


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Gardening Dictionary

A plant that grows from seed to maturity within one year - planted in the spring and dies in the fall. May be purchased at garden centers and are known as bedding plants or bedding out plants.

An area of raw soil that is usually planted with flowers or vegetables. Also known as flower beds.

Bedding Plant
Plants that have been already started indoors and are ready to plant in the garden. These are usually annuals; however, many perennials may be sold as bedding plants.

Features decorative plants or garden accessories such as bricks and gravel which are located alongside another landscape feature such as a fence or patio.

Common biennials are Sweet Williams and Foxglove. They will produce a cluster of leaves in the first year; and, flowers and seeds in the second growing season after the seeds germinate.

A true bulb is thought to be a complete or nearly complete miniature of a plant that is enclosed in fleshy leaves called scales, which contain a provision of reserve food. If you were to cut a Hyacinth bulb in half (bud to root) it is most interesting to see that the flower is housed there, waiting to emerge into our world. Wrapped around a bulb is a thin outside covering called a tunic. These are like flakey leaves. The basil plate which is located at the base of the bulb holds the food storing scales together, and new roots will sprout from the outside edge of the basil plate once the bulb ends its dormant period and begins its growth cycle. Daffodils, Hyacinth, Lily, Tulips and Onions are what are called True Bulbs.

A garden additive made from organic material such as garden & kitchen refuse that has been stored in such a way that air, moisture and sometimes worms will break down the materials into a homogeneous substance.

The corm is the base of a stem that becomes swollen, and solid, with food for it to live on. It is usually covered by a type of tunic, somewhat like that which covers the bulb and there is a basil plate from which new roots grow. During the growth cycle, the food reserve for the corm is completely depleted. In order to carry on, carry on the corm will develop one or more new corms from the buds that appear either on the top or beside the old one. Gladiolus, Crocus, Acidanthera and Freesia fall under the category of Corms.

Usually the first seedling leaf to appear when a seed germinates. Some flowers, such as lilies will only produce one leaf, while most others will produce two.

Dead Heading
Pinching off and removing blooms that have started to wilt or die to encourage the plant to produce additional flowers or direct the energy of the plant to new growth. Remove at the first joint below the bloom if there is one OR directly at the base of the bloom.

Division or Dividing
Cutting or pulling apart the roots sections enabling replanting to produce more of the same plant.

During winter months or when visible activity ceases. Some herbaceous plants may die back to soil level and then recommence growth in the spring.

A flower with more than the usual number of petals displayed by the wild species. A flower that displays a mass of petals may be called fully double; while a semi-double will have more petals than the original species and retains the look of an open center.

Harden or Hardening Out
A method used to acclimatize seedlings and plants that have been started indoors for transplant to the outdoors. Place the plants in a sheltered, sunny place, outside, for a few hours at a time and return them to the house, greenhouse or garage each night. Extending the outside time each day until the risk of frost has passed and the plant can be moved to a permanent outside location. Use of a cold frame can help to speed up the process if the growing season is short.

A term used to indicate whether a plant has the ability to survive outdoors all year in a given climate.

A plant with soft upper growth rather than woody growth that is found in shrubs. Annuals, biennials and perennials may be herbaceous.

A crossbred cultivar that is not likely to breed true from seeds. Some methods of propagations such as division or cutting should produce identical copies of a hybrid parent.

A form of propagation in which shoots that are still attached to the mother plant are laid on top or just under the soil surface so that rooting occurs. Once rooted, the layered section can be cut from the mother plant and moved elsewhere. Strawberry plants are good candidates for layering.

A soil that contains a good balance of clay, sand and humus or decayed organic matter.

Manure Tea
Liquid fertilizer made by dissolving or soaking a quantity of manure in a large volume of water. Steep the mixture overnight or longer and use on such plants as primrose, delphiniums and foliage plants that tend to be nutrient hungry.

A layer of material such as straw and bark that is placed over the soil for any number of reasons such as preventing weed growth, adding nutrients and protecting plant roots in winter.

Horticulture and agriculture growing techniques whereby no chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers are used to protect the plant from disease, pests or enhance growth. Acceptable organic growth methods include natural plant derived or mineral substances along with the acceptance that certain pest and diseases be allowed in the garden.

A plant which has a whole life of at least three growing seasons, but may live many more. Peonies, Columbine, Hostas and Lilies are part of the perennial listing of plants.

Synthetic substances used to kill and assortment of pests that might include weeds and insects. Herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are all types of pesticides.

Removing the growing tip of a plant to slow growth and encourage branching.

A thick stem or rootstock that grows horizontally along or below the soil surface and every so often on the top or side of the rhizome, it sends stems above ground. Stems that have buds with scale like leaves. Lily of the Valley send up "pips", small upright detachable growths that have their own roots, are detachable and can be stored for later planting. Lily of the Valley, Canna and Callas all are grown from Rhizomes.

Are rough skinned and produce roots from many parts of its surface. New plants come to life from eyes or growth buds from this short, fat, bumpy exterior. Anemone, Aladium, Gloxinia and Tuberous Begonia all belong to the tuber family. To reproduce, Begonias grow larger and produce growth buds while Caladium grow new tubers from the sides of the original. Ranunculus and Dahlias are just a few that are part of the Tuberous Root family and in fact are truly real roots. Their food supply is kept in the root tissue and they produce buds from which new plants grow. The growing area is often called the crown and the buds are restricted to the neck of the root where they grow on the base of the old stem.

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