Hello, fellow gardeners - let's start with the basics - terminology. as this section grows, you might find it helpful to understand some basic gardening terminology. So here goes, with thanks to Tricia Drevets at Dave's Garden website and Wikipedia.
General Terms Annual - A plant that has a one-year life cycle. Bare root - Dormant (sleeping) plants removed from the ground, with their soil, and preserved for later planting. Biennial - A plant that has a two-year life cycle. Bolting - Plants producing premature flowers or seeds instead of a crop, usually due to excessive heat and sun exposure, Botanical name - The scientific name of a plant, consisting of the Genus (always capitalized) and species (not capitalized). Calyx (plural calyces) - the outermost whorl of parts (sepals) that form a flower. Crown - The totality of an individual plant's above-ground parts, including stems, leaves, and reproductive structures. Cultivar - Plant that has been produced in cultivation by selective breeding propagated vegetatively through methods such as cuttings, grafting, and tissue culture. Cultivars are usually designated in the style Taxus baccata “Variegata.”. Deciduous - A plant that loses its leaves each fall or winter. Dormancy - The period—usually winter—when a plant rests. Double-flowered - Varieties of flowers with extra petals, often containing flowers within flowers. Popular varieties of many commercial flower types, including roses, camellias and carnations are double-flowered. In some varieties all of the reproductive organs are converted to petals - as a result, they are sexually sterile and therefore have little wildlife value as they do not produce pollen, nectar or seeds. Evergreen - A plant that keeps its leaves throughout the growing season. Family – A term for classifying similar organisms. Fertilizer - Substances used to feed plants. Fungicide – Substances used to control fungi. Genus - A term for a group of plant species that are closely related. Germination - The beginning of a seed’s growth. Groundcover - A low-growing (usually 18 inches or less), spreading plant. Hardy - A plant that can withstand exposure to frost without protection. Heirloom - An open-pollinated plant variety that has remained unchanged for 50 years or more. Herbicide - Substances that kill plants or inhibits plant growth. Hybrid - The result of combining the qualities of two organisms of different varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction. Hybrids are not always intermediates between their parents (such as in blending inheritance), but can show hybrid vigour, often growing larger or taller than either parent. Invasive - A plant that is quick spreading and difficult to control. Native – A term usually used to describe plants that are indigenous to a given area before an intrusion. Non-native or exotic – A term usually used to describe plants that were artificially introduced into an area. Open pollination - Seeds that are developed and distributed naturally through wind, insect activity, or soil movement. Ornamental - Plants grown for the way they look, rather than for consumption or for economic use. Petals - Modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They are often brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Perennial – A plant that lives for multiple growing seasons. Pistil - The female seed-bearing organ of a flower, consisting of the ovary, style, and stigma. Pollination - The transfer of pollen from a flower’s stamen to the pistil, which results in the forming of a seed. Seedling - A plant that has just emerged from its seed. Self-pollinating – A term to describe plants that do not need pollen from another plant to produce fruit. Sepal - Part of the flower of angiosperms (flowering plants). Usually green, sepals typically function as protection for the flower in bud, and often as support for the petals when in bloom Stamen - The male organ of a flower, consisting of the filament and the pollen-containing anther Variety - Propagation where seedlings grown from a plant will also have the same unique characteristic of the parent plant. Weed - A plant growing where it is not wanted and where it adds no value. Woody – A plant with bark on older stems that usually survive the winter and increase in size each year.
Soil Terminology Acidity - Soil pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral, above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic. Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic with a pH of 6 to 6.5. Clay - Soil that contains 50 percent or more clay. Clay soil is heavy and drains slowly. Compost - A mixture of decayed plant matter that is used as a soil conditioner, mulch, or fertilizer. Humus - Decomposed plant matter that has broken down in the soil. Inorganic – Substances derived from non-living material. Loam – Rich soil that contains relatively equal parts of sand, silt, and clay. Mulch - Materials that help to cool the soil and/or reduce erosion, evaporation, and weeds. Organic – Substances derived from living material. pH - A measure of the soil’s acidity or alkalinity of the soil on a scale ranging from 0 to 14. Neutral soil has a pH of 7. Sand - The largest particles of minerals that comprise soil. Silt - Medium-size pieces of minerals that comprise soil (smaller particles than sand and larger than clay). Soil - The layer of material on the earth’s crust composed of tiny mineral pieces, living and non-living organisms, air, and water. Soil texture – The proportion of clay, silt, and sand in the soil. Sludge - Sediment from wastewater treatment plants that is often used as a fertilizer or as an additive for livestock feed. Vermiculite - A light, spongy mineral (also called "mica") that has been heated to the point of expansion so as to retain water and air. Waterlogged - Soil that is completely saturated with water.
General Gardening Techniques and Terminology Dead heading – Pinching or snipping off spent flowers. Direct sowing - Germinating seeds at the planting site rather than growing them indoors to transplant later. Full sun – At least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Hardening off - Slowly exposing a plant to cooler temperatures to help it adapt to them (also called acclimating). Hardiness zone - A geographic temperature zone that categorizes where certain plants can thrive. Horticulture - The art and science of plant cultivation. Hybrid - Crossbreeding of two different plants with distinct characteristics. Naturalized - To plant without a deliberate design or pattern. Pest – A term used for any insect, weed, or plant pathogen (bacteria, fungus, virus). Pesticide – Substances used to control or kill pests. Pruning - The process of removing dead, diseased, damaged or unwanted leaves or branches. Raised bed – A garden bed that is elevated off the ground. Side dressing – The process of working small amounts of fertilizer into the soil surrounding a mature plant. Staking - The practice of using a stick, pole, or other object to support a plant as it grows. Thinning - To reduce the number of seedlings in order to allow better air circulation and light exposure. Transplant - To remove plants from one location and replant them in another. Trellis - Latticework that supports climbing plants.