Garden Glossary

Posted by on March 21, 2013

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Abiotic: A non-living organism.

Gardening with Confidence Blueberries

Acid: An acid or sour substance that has a pH below 7.0.

Acidic soil: Acidic soil: The pH scale is logarithmic, from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Soil with a pH level below 7 is acidic. The lower the pH, the more acidic it is. Acidic soil is also referred to as sour soil.

Aeration: Supplying soil and roots with air or oxygen.

Aerobic: Having oxygen.

Aeroponics: Growing plants by misting roots suspended in air.

Agamospermy: Asexual reproduction in which seeds are produced from unfertilized ovules.

Aggregate:  Clumps of inorganic material of varying size.

Aggressive:  Referring to a plant’s active growth behavior.

Agriculture:  The art and science of cultivating land for production of food.

Akaline: Refers to soil with high ph; any pH over 7.0 is considered alkaline.

Alkaline soil: The pH scale is logarithmic, from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Soil with a pH level above 7 is alkaline. The higher the pH, the more alkaline it is. Alkaline soil is also referred to as basic soil.

Allelopathic: Allelopathic is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms.

All-Purpose Fertilizer: A balanced blend of N-P-K; all purpose fertilizer is used by most growers.

Alternate: Horticulturally speaking, alternate refers to leaves that are arranged on the stem in alternating fashion.

Anaerobic: Without Oxygen.

Antiphlogistic: A substance that functions to relieve inflammation and fever.

Amendment: Fortifying soil by adding organic or mineral substances in order to improve texture, nutrient content or biological activity.

Angiosperm:  A flowering plant whose seeds are housed within an ovary.

Annual: Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle (from germination to seed) in a single growing season. Basil is an example of an annual.

Anther: The part of a stamen that contains the pollen.

Anthocyanins: Water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH.

Antipyretics: From the Greek anti, against, and pyreticus, pertaining to fever, are substances that reduce fever. Antipyretics cause the hypothalamus to override an interleukin-induced increase in temperature.

Anthropogenic: Man-made or disturbed habitats.

Apetalous: A flower having no pedal, such as a Lindera sp.

Apomixis: Asexual reproduction in plants, in particular agamospermy.

Arbor: An arbor serves as a portal into a garden room, a transition point to tell a visitor it’s time to pause, to change perspective. Training vines to cover the arbor brings garden life to another dimension. There are so many reasons to want to find the perfect spot in your garden to add an arbor.

Arborist:  An professional trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees.

Arching: As in arching branches–have the curved shape of an arch.

Aril: Fleshy outgrowth that partially or completely surrounds the seed in some plants. Ex. the berry-like fruit on an English Yew.

ArchiTorture: This is my new favorite word. There are many definitions, but I’m defining it for the hobby gardeners. When a garden has a little bit of this and a little bit of that. The garden becomes disconnected. Brick edging, cinderblock raised beds, plastic pots. In design, consistency is key. Learn when enough is enough.

Aromatic: Having a pleasing scent from a plant or plant parts.

Ascending:  Describes an upright growth habit.

Asexual: Propagation with out pollination.

Auxin: Classification of plant hormones; auxins are responsible for foliage and root elongation.

Axil: The upper angle between the leaf and stem.

Axillary Bud: A bud that grows from the axil of a leaf and may develop into a branch or flower cluster.
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Bacteria: Very small, one-celled organisms.

B & B or Balled and BurlappedDigging a round root ball and held intact by a large piece of burlap. This is then held in place with wire or twine. Balled-and-burlapped trees and shrubs are field-grown nursery plants dug out of the ground with a ball of soil around the roots; the soil has been wrapped with burlap.

Bare Root:  Plants sold without soil around the roots. Many roses come bare root as do asparagus. Bare-root plants are dormant, deciduous, woody plants that are shipped without soil in late winter. The most common examples are roses and fruit trees.

Gardening with Confidence® Parsley

Bed: The terms garden bed and garden border are often used interchangeable; but I make the distinction of where the garden plot is placed in the garden. A garden bed is place to plant that typically doesn’t have a backside to it, such as an island bed.


Bedding Plants: Bedding plants typically refer to plants that are produced and sold for mass plantings in a flower bed.

Beneficial Insect: Insects that are benefitial to have in the garden and landscape.

Berry Berry: The botanical definition of a berry is a fleshy fruit produced from a single flower and containing one ovary. Grapes and avocados are two common examples. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire ovary wall ripens into an edible pericarp. They may have one or more carpels. The seeds are usually embedded in the fleshy interior of the ovary, but there are some non-fleshy exceptions, such as peppers, that have air rather than pulp around their seeds.

Biennial: Biennials are plants that complete their life cycle in two years. The first year they grow only leaves; the second year they bloom, set seed and die are considered biennials. Parsley is an example of a biennial.

Biodegradable: A material that is able to decompose or break down through natural bacterial or fungal action, substances made of organic matter are biodegradable.


Gardening with Confidence Border

Bolt: Term used to describe a plant that has gone to seed prematurely.

  • Bolting is what cabbages and lettuces do when the weather gets hot. Instead of staying in a tight rosette, they grow tall and begin to flower; the quality of the vegetable declines.

Bonsai: A very short or dwarfed plant.

Border: A garden border typically refers to garden space that has a backdrop, and borders the property.

Botany:  The scientific study of plants.

Bract: In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis, or cone scale. Good examples of bracts are the modified leaves of the poinsettia and hellebore.

Bramble:  A shrub with thorns that is in the rose family, such as blackberries and raspberries.

Breathe: Roots draw in or breathe oxygen, stomata draw in or breathe carbon dioxide.

Broadcast:  To spread fertilizer over a large growing area.

Broadcasting means spreading fertilizer or seeds over a large area, such as a lawn. To ensure even distribution, always use a spreade.

Broad Spectrum:  Pesticides that affect a wide variety of pest. No such pesticide is used in Helen’s Haven.

Broadleaved Evergreens:  A plant with leaves year-round.

JC Raulston Arboretum What's in a name

Botanical Latin




Bud: An embryonic shoot that normally occurs in the axil of a leaf or at the tip of a stem. The nickname of my oldest child.

Bud Break: When the buds break open after a period of dormancy.

Bud Blight: A withering condition that attacks flower buds.

Budding:  Budding is a term with two meaning–one for propagation and the other for what a plant naturally does as it emerges from the cold of winter.

Buffering: The ability of a substance to reduce shock and cushion against pH fluctuations.

Gardening with Confidence Biub

Bulb: Not all bulb are the same. There are five types of bulbs falling under that title: true bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, and tuberous roots. It’s a good idea to understand there are differences (see definitions), but it’s also OK to call them all bulbs. Or at least I think so.  True bulbs contain a fully formed plant. Daffodils, tulips, lilies, grape hyacinths, and amaryllis are all true bulbs. If you slice open a daffodil vertically, you will find the entire embryonic daffodil—flower, stem, leaves, and roots—ready to spring forth once the time is right. True bulbs can be annuals or perennials.

Butterfly Cycle: The butterfly life cycle goes from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally the full-fledged butterfly. Butterflies feed on specific host plants while in the caterpillar (or larvae) stage. Adult butterflies will sip nectar to provide energy.
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Calyx: The calyx is outer whorl of protective leaves around the base of the flowers.

Cambium: Tissue in the plant that produces new cells.

Cane: A hollow or pithy jointed, wood stem.

Gardening with Confidence Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778): Carl Linnaeus, Father of Taxonomic Botany




Carnivorous Plant:  A plant that attracts and consumes insects.

Carbohydrate: Neutral compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Sugar, starch and cellulose are carbohydrates.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2): A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas in the air necessary for plant life and biomass accumulation.

Carpel: Carpel is one of the leaflike, seed-bearing structures that constitute the innermost whorl of a flower. One or more carpels make up the pistil. Fertilization of an egg within a carpel by a pollen grain from another flower results in seed development within the carpel.


Cauliflory: Cauliflory is the botanical term referring to plants which flower and fruit from their main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth and shoots.



Caustic: Capable of destroying, killing or eating away by chemical activity.

Cell: The base structural unit that plants are made of; cells contain a nucleus, that houses it’s DNA.

Cellulose: A complex carbohydrate that stiffens a plant tissue: tough stems contain cellulose.

Ceraunophile: A person who loves lightening and thunder. (Me.)

Chalkbrood:  A mycosis (a disease caused by a fungus), which affects bee brood. It is an infectious disease of the larvae, and is caused by a fungus called “Ascosphaera apis.”

Chelate: Combining nutrients in an atomic ring that is easy for plants to absorb.

Chimera: A single organism composed of cells from different zygotes. This can result in male and female organs, two blood types, or subtle variations in form.

Chlorine: Chemical used to purify water.

Chlorophyll: Green coloring matter of leaves and plants, essential to the production of carbohydrates by photosynthesis.

Chloroplast: Containing chlorophyll.

Chlorosis: The condition of a sick plant with yellowing leaves due to inadequate formation of chlorophyll chlorosis is caused by nutrient deficiency, usually iron or imbalanced pH.

Chlorotic Foliage: A condition in which the leaves of a plant turn yellow is called chlorotic foliage. This is usually caused by an iron deficiency in the soil or lack of oxygen to the roots due to over watering.

Clay: Soil made of very fine organic mineral particles, clay is not suitable for container gardening, but works very well in the garden bed when amended with organic matter.  A country and western turned pollution in NC

Cleistogamy: A type of automatic self-pollination. Certain plants can propagate by using non-opening, self-pollinating flowers. Especially well known in peanuts, peas, and beans. This behavior is most widespread in the grass family.

Climate: The average condition of the weather in a garden room or outdoors.

Cloche: A bell-snapped glass cover that is placed over a seedling in the early season to protect from cold temperatures and to encourage growth.

Clone:  An identical reproduction of the parent plant.

Cloy: Disgust or sicken (someone) with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment.

Coir:  A fiber that is extracted from the husk of coconuts, and used a liner for hanging pots, window boxes, etc. to keep potting soil in place.

Cold Frame: a four-sided frame of boards with a removable glass or plastic top. The frame is placed on the ground and is used to house, protect, and harden off seedlings and small plants, without artificial heat.

Cold-hardy: Cold-hardy refers to zone-specific perennial flowers, shrubs, and trees that can survive cold and/or subfreezing temperatures and return for another growing season.

Cold snap: A cold snap is a sudden drop in temperature, usually during the spring, and may cause damage to already blooming and leafing plants.

Cole crops: Is simply the members of the cabbage family-broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi. It’s easy to remember because they grow in spring and fall when the weather is cole

Color Tracer: A coloring agent added to many commercial fertilizers, so the horticulturist knows there is fertilizer in the solution.

Compacton: Soil condition that results from tightly packing soil; compacted soil allows for only marginal aeration and root penetration.

Gardening with Confidence CompanionsCompanion plant: A companion plant, is a plant that goes well with another in terms of height, texture, color, or fragrance. This also can refer to two plants that benefit each other in terms of health, such as keeping insects away. A good example of companion plants is tomatoes and marigolds, with the marigolds reducing cutworms populations that attack tomatoes.

Compost: Compost, also called humus, is a soil conditioner made up of partly decayed organic material, usually consisting of plant materials such as leave and pine needles, plus manure and soil.

Compost Tea:  Authentic Haven Brand Moo Poo is my go-to organic tea fertilizer.

Compound: Made up of two or more discrete leaflets.

Cone:  The conical fruit of pines, firs, and cedars.

Conical: Describes the shape of a tree where the base is the widest point of the plant and it gradually becomes more narrow at the top.

Conifer:  A group of cone-bearing plants.

Cool-season crops: Plants that tribe during cooler temperatures.

Cool-season grasses: Cool-season grasses are those grasses actively growing when its cool, and its green in the summer, as well as, the winter.  Common cool-season grasses include fescues, bent grass, and bluegrass. Cool-season grasses tend to flourish in the spring after breaking winter dormancy and in early fall, when temperatures moderate and droughts and heat waves are typically behind us.

Core: The transformer in the ballast is referred to as the core in hid lighting systems.

Corolla: The petals of a flower are called the corolla.

Corm: Corms are similar to true bulbs, in that they contain a stem base, but they do not hold the entire baby plant. The roots growing from a basal plate are located on the bottom of the corm. (The basal plate is the base area of the bulb.) The growth point is located on the top of the corm. A corm only lasts for a single season, but a new corm will form on top of the old. Plus, “cormels” are also produced, forming around the base of the corm’s basal plate. Popular corms include gladiolas and crocus.

Cottage Garden: A Cottage Garden is a style of garden that is free-flowing and filled with flowers.

Cotyledon: Energy storage components of a seed that feed the plant before the emergence of its first true leaves.

Cover Crop:  A crop that is planted by gardeners to improve soil health.

Crenate: With obtuse or rounded teeth which either point forwards or are perpendicular to the margin


Gardening with Confidence Crepe MurderCrepe Murder: Crepe Murder  is a copy-cat crime of improper pruning of Lagerstroemia spp.




Cross-pollinate: Pollinating two plants having different ancestry.

Crop Rotation: The practice of growing a succession of different crops on the same land in order to deter weeds, pests, and diseases.


Crown: The part of a herbaceous perennial at or just below the soil level where the roots converge to form woody tissue from which the buds for new stems grow. The top of the head of a tree. 

Cubic Foot: Volume measurement in feet: L” x W” x H” / 1728″ = CuFt

Cultivar: A cultivated variety from a plant that grows naturally in the wild. A Nativar is a term catching on to refer to a cultivated regional native. In common garden jargon, these are not popular terms.

Culture:  The basic needs and conditions that a plant requires in order to thrive.

Curb Appeal: Curb Appeal.

Cutting Garden: Growing a garden to routinely cut the flowers to enjoy indoors.

Cutting Propagation: Propagation by cuttings is taking a piece (cutting), either a stem or root section, of a plant and transplanting it.

Cymes: A broad, flat-topped inflorescence in which the central flower is the first to open.

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Dampling-off: Disease that attacks young seedlings and cuttings causing stem to rot at base. Damping off is a fungal problem that causes young seedlings to collapse at the soil level and die. It’s caused by contaminated soil, overcrowding, or excessive moisture.

Days to Maturity or Harvest:  The length of tim from when the seed germinates to the harvesting.

Dead-heading: Dead-heading is cutting off the spent flower heads on plants after they have bloomed. Deadheading  is cutting off a plant’s spent flowers.

Dead-leafing: Dead-leaving is removing the leaf die-back or cutting off unattractive plant leaves.

Dead Spot:  An area of your lawn or on a plant this is dead.

Deep watering: Thoroughly soaking a plant so the roots get a good soaking is referred to as deep watering.

Phil Hathcock

Deer Resistant: Deer resistant plants are those that are less likely to be eaten. But, if a deer is hungry enough, they will eat anything.  Wildlife browsing habits change from region to region and season to season. Environmental conditions such as droughts, fires or development can have dramatic and unpredictable effects on wildlife feeding habits. Animals are more likely to eat tender new growth. Younger animals are more likely to taste a new plant in a garden than mature animals.

Deplete: Exhaust soil of nutrients, making it infertile

Dessicatte: Cause to dry up. Insecticidal soap desiccates its victims.

Deciduous: Plants that drop all their leaves at the end of a growing season. Deciduous plants drop their leaves in fall and winter.

Decussate: In botany, leaves cross or intersect each other or in whorls of three.

Depurative: Herbs considered to have purifying and detoxifying effects.

Determinate:  Referring to tomatoes where growth of the plant is limited.

Dibbler:  A simple tool used by gardeners to poke a hole in the ground for planting.

Dimorphic: Occurring in or representing two distinct forms.

Dioecious: Having distinct male and female organs on different plants within the same species.

Direct Sow:  Planting seeds directly onto the ground.

Disease: Any abnormal condition in a plant that interferes with its growing processes.

Disease Resistant: Referring to how well a plant either resists or tolerates pests.

Dorment: A plant in an inactive growth state.  

Double Digging:  I do not practice I do anymore. First dig 18 inches, set it aside. Then dig 18 inches more.

Drainage: Way to empty soil of excess water: with good drainage, water passes through soil evenly.

Drift:  A strategic grouping of plants in the landscape forming a drift.

Dripline: A line around a plant directly under its outermost branch tips: roots seldom grow beyond the drip line.

Drip System: A very efficient watering system that employs a main hose with small water emi1ters.

Drought Tolerant: A plant that can withstand longer periods of time without irrigation or precipitation.

Drupe: A fleshy fruit, with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed. Examples are plum, cherry, almond, or olive.

Dwarf: A smaller variety of a plant.
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Earthing: The process of absorbing the Earth’s free flowing electrons from its surface through the soles of ones feet.

Gardening with Confidence ® edging

Ecosystem: A comunnity of animals, plants, and microorganisms.

Edging: Edging.

 Ectothermic: Cold blooded.

Erosion: The wearing down of materials, such as moving water, rain and wind.

Espalier: The practice of pruning a plant to grow in a single plane.

Exfoliating: When the bark of a tree or shrub has a peeling pattern. Crape Myrtles are a classic example.

Equinox: The point at which the sun crosses the equator and day and night are each 12 hours long; the equinox occurs twice a year, in spring and fall.
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F1 hybridA F1 hybrid is when two pure lines are crossed, the plant resulting from their seeds is an F1 hybrid.

Fairy Garden:  A garden in miniature. The design includes dwarf or small plants and to scale accents to give the illusion that fairies occupy the garden.

Fairy Ring:  A naturally occurring ring of mushrooms.

Fast-draining: Sandy, gravelly, or light-textured loam soils tend to be fast-draining soils that allows water to pass through quickly, and doesn’t stay wet for an extended period of times.

Fastigiate: A tree’s growth habit where the branches of the plant are erect and parallel to the trunk.

Feed: Deliver nutrient to the plant via roots or foliage.

Female: Pistillate, ovule, seed-producing.

Fertilizer: The three top nutrients needed in the soil NPK:  Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium

Fertilizer Burn: Over fertilization: first leaf tips burn (turn brown) then the leaves curl.

Fibrous Roots: A highly branched root system that occupies a large volume of soil around the plant’s base.

Flat: Shallow, three inch deep container, often 18 by 24 or 10 by 20 inches with good drainage, used to start seedlings or cuttings.

FloricultureThe science of cultivating flowers or flowering plants.

Foliage: The leaves or more generally, the green part of a plant.

Foilar Feeding: Misting fertilizer solution which is absorbed by lilt foliage. Best to do when first turning on your lights.

Foundation Plant:  A plant used to hide the foundation of a home.

Fragrant: Having a pleasing scent from a plant or plant parts.

Fragrant Garden: A fragrant garden is designed around fragrance. A fragrant garden can become a place to spend the evening with a glass of wine. The fragrance garden could also serve as your cutting garden, allowing you to bring these flowers inside to enjoy. Plant where the scent can be approached most–under a window, near the back patio, or the path leading to the front porch.

Frost Tolerant:  A plant that can withstand a light frost and survive.

Fungus: A lower plant lacking chlorophyll which may attack green plants; mold, rust, mildew.

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Gall: An abnormal swelling of plant tissue, caused by injury or by parasitic organisms such as insects, mites, nematodes, and bacteria. Parasites stimulate the production of galls by secreting chemical irritants on or in the plant tissue.

50 Ways Cover 2

Garden: A garden is anything you want it to be.Create your style and a place that is a true expression of who you are.





Garden Conservancy: Garden Conservancy.




Gazebo: A gazebo is a structure, either freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides, to  provide shade, shelter, or as an ornamental feature in a landscape.

Gene:: Part or a chromosome that influences the development of plant; genes are inherited through sexual propagation. Genetic make up the sit of genes inherited from parent plants. Also, my neighbor.

Genus:  A hierarchical level in plant naming. Genus comes below family and before species.

Geotropism:  The effect that gravity has on plants.

Germination:  The transformation processof a seed developing into a young plant.

Girdling: The removal of bark from around the entire circumference of a branch or trunk of a tree.

Girth: The size of something measured around the middle. When measuring a tree, it’s typically measured at check height.

Graft: A type of propagation in which two separate plants are joined together to benefit from the ideal creatures of each. A good example, is grafting conifers on Abies firma.

Green Manure: Green manure refers to turning a cover crop into the soil.

Green Roof: A roof covered with living plant.s

GreenhouseA building or “house” that is protected from the elements to winter-over tender plants or to start seeds.

Greening-up: Greening up refers to plants and shrubs that are beginning to put out new growth in the spring.

Ground Cover: Plants that are low growing to the ground.

Gymnosperm: A vascular plant that produces seeds that are not protected in an ovary. A good example is conifers.

Guttation: Guttation is the exudation of xylem sap that accumulate on the tips or edges of leaves of some vascular plants, such as grasses. Not to be confused with dew, which condenses from the atmospher onto the plant surface.

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Habit: Refers to how a mature plant carries itself.

Habitat: Areas which certain plants thrive; an environment in which a plant usually grows.

Ha-Ha: – A sunken wall or ditch with one side being a retaining wall, These were used in England to divide lands without interrupting the beauty of the landscape, yet keepings animals within their bounds.

Harden-off: Harden-off refers to the process of gradually acclimating young plants from being grown indoors. Too much sun, wind, and low humidity can damage seedlings slowly introduced to these outdoor conditions. Hardening off is as close to weaning as you can get with plants. Those that are grown rapidly in a greenhouse may fail if planted outdoors. They need to harden off. Move them outdoors for a few hours each day so they can become accustomed to the temperature and humidity of life outside of the greenhouse.

Hardiness: The ability for the plant to endure difficult conditions within their range. (See zone.)

Hardscape: The nonliving or man-made fixtures of a planned outdoor area–walls, gazebos, paths, etc.

Hardpan: A hardened impervious layer, typically of clay, occurring in or below the soil and impairing drainage and plant growth.

Hardy Annuals: Hardy annuals are annuals that complete their life cycle in one year, but are cold-hardy enough to take frost. They can be planted in fall in mild climates or earlier in spring while night temperatures are still frosty (such as pansies and snapdragons.)

Heading back:  Pruning by removing the end of a limb.

Healing Garden: A healing garden is an outdoor therapeutic space designed to meet the healing needs of the people using the garden as well as their caregivers, family members and friends.

Heaving:  Frost heaving or just heaving, is an upwards swelling of soil during freezing conditions caused by an increasing presence of ice swelling towards the surface, often taking plants with it.

Heeling in: When you take a potted, bare-root, or balled-and-burlapped plant and cover the roots with soil and mulch. This is a temporary measure to protect the roots from cold and drought.

Herb: Traditional references to an herb are any plant used as a medicine, seasoning, or fragrance.

Heirloom Plant: An heirloom plant, fruit, variety, or vegetable is an old cultivar that is still maintained by gardeners and farmers particularly in isolated or small farming communities. These may have been commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but are not typically used in modern large-scale agriculture.

Herbaceous: Herbaceous perennials are those plants with soft tissues as opposed to woody stems. These plants also die back to the ground during cold winter months.


Herbivore: An animal that feeds on plants.

Heeling In: In the fall if you are not ready to plant recently purchased potted plants or bare-root trees, shrubs, and perennials you can heel them into a trench to winter-over. The word heeling in is derived from the word ‘helan’ which is kin to the word ‘hell” meaning to cover up. So heeling in for the winter is to cover up plants to protect them until the following spring.

Book Cover PhotoHelen’s Haven:  My home garden; a certified wildlife habitat.




Hermaphrodite: One plant having both male and female organs; the breeding of hermaphrodites is hard to control

Hip: A hip, as in rose hip, is the fruit of the rose plant.

Honeydew: A sticky honey like substance secreted into foliage by aphids, scale and mealy bugs.

Honey Flow: Also known as nectar flow, honey flow is a term used by beekeepers indicating that one or more major nectar sources are in bloom and the weather is favorable for bees to fly and collect the nectar in abundance.

Horticulture: The art or practice of garden cultivation and management.

Horizontal: Parallel to the horizon, ground or floor.

Hormone: Chemical substance that controls the growth and development of a plant. Root-inducing hormones help cuttings root.

Host: A host is a plant upon which an organism, such as an insect subsists. For example, the common milkweed is the host plant for the Monarch butterfly.

Hügelkultur: Hügelkultur (also spelled hüegelkultur) roughly translated from German as hill culture. Hügelkultur is the practice of composting large woody material to create a raised garden bed. It is a way of dealing with excess amounts of woody garden wastes, for example prunings, hedge clippings, brassica stems, or brushwood, and logs.

Humidity (Relative): Ratio between the amount of moisture in the air and the greatest amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature.

Humus: Dark, fertile partially decomposed plant or animal matter. Humus forms the organic portion of the soil.

Hybrid: An offspring from two plants of different breeds, variety or genetic makeup.

Hydrated Lime: Instantly soluble lime, used to raise pH or sweeten soil.

Hydrogen: Light or colorless, odorless gas; hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water.

Hydrophobic: lacking affinity for water; tending to repel or not to absorb water. Water very dry soil slowly with the nozzle moving side to side so the soil has a chance to hydrate, thus absorb. 

Hygrometer: Instrument for measuring relative humidity in the atmosphere

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Inbred: Inbred is a true breed offspring of plants ofthe same breed or ancestry.

Indeterminate: Referring to tomatoes where growth of the plant is isn’t limited. 

Inert: Chemically non reactive; inert growing mediums make it easy to control the chemistry of the nutrient solution.

Inflorescence: This is the arrangement of blossoms on a stem and can refer to flowers growing in clusters or individually. An example is a cluster of lantana blooms.

Integrated Pest Management: IPM.  IPM or Integrated Pest Management is the science and practice of monitoring and managing pests and their predators at acceptable levels of damage.

Internode: A part of a plant stem between two of the nodes from which leaves emerging

Introduced: An introduced, alien, exotic, non-indigenous, or non-native species, or simply an introduction, is a species living outside its native distributional range, which has arrived there by human activity, either deliberate or accidental.

Invasive: An invasive species is a plant that is not native to a specific location (an Introduced species); and has a tendency to escape cultivation.

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JC Raulson Arboretum: JC Raulston Arboretum

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Lacewing: Beneficial insects that preys on aphids.

Larva: the active immature form of an insect, especially one that differs greatly from the adult and forms the stage between egg and pupa, e.g., a caterpillar or grub.

Lateral Bud: Aanother term for axillary bud. See above.

Lath HouseLath House: Structure used to protect plants from the weather and to get them adjusted to the weather before planting them out in the garden.



Layering: The method or activity of propagating a plant by producing layers.

Leach: Dissolve or wash out soluble components of soil by heavy watering.

Leader: The growing apex or main shoot of a shrub or tree.

Leaf curl: Leaf malformation due to over-watering over fertilization lack of magnesium, insect or fungus o or negative tropism.

Leaf-out: When trees are putting out new leaf buds in the spring, it’s referred to as leaf-out.

Leaflet: Small immature leaf. One of the expended, first-order devisions of a compound leaf.

Delivered leaf mold to Helen's Haven Leaf Mold: Leaf mold is the result of letting leaves sit and decompose over time. It is dark brown to black, has a pleasant earthy aroma and a crumbly texture, much like compost. In fact, leaf mold is just that: composted leaves.  Leaf mold is simply composted leaves.

Leaf Pattern or Attachment: The pattern by which leaves are attached to a stem or twig. There are two large groups, alternate and opposite patterns, and a third less common pattern, whorled.

Leaf Scorch: Leaf scorch, also called leaf burn, leaf wilt, and sun scorch, is defined as a browning of plant tissues, including leaf margins and tips, and yellowing or darkening of veins which may lead to eventual wilting and abscission of the leaf.

Lean soil: Soil low in humus or rich organic matter, such as clay or sand, are considered lean.

Leaves: The external part of a plant attached to branches and stems for the purpose of taking in light from the sun s energy, they do this with chloroplasts in the cells which contain chlorophyll.

Leggy: Abnormally tall internode space, with sparse foliage. Leggyness of a plant is usually caused by lack of blue light or CO2 too much nitrogen can also cause this.

Life Cycle: A series of growth stages through which a plant must pass in its natural lifetime; the stages for an annual plant are seed, seedling, vegetative and floral.

Liner Plant:

Lime: Used in the form of dolomite or hydrated lime to raise and stabilize soil ph.

Litmus Paper: Chemically sensitive paper used for testing ph.

Loam: Organic soil mixture of crumbly clay, silt and sand.

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Macronutrient: One or all of the primary nutrients N-P-K or the secondary nutrients magnesium and calcium.

Marcescent: Many oaks  (Quercus spp.) have marcescent leaves. I have one and at first thought it was a disadvantage because I’m raking leaves in the spring. But then I learned to appreciate the sound of the leaves shimmering in the breeze. Marcescent is when foliage writers but is retained on the plant stem, holding on to their dried leaves until spring.

Margin:  The area along the leaf blade.

Mature:  Fully grown.


Meristem: Tip of plants growth.

Microclimate:  The climate of a very small or restricted area, especially when this differs from the climate of the surrounding area.

Micronutrient: Also referred to as trace elements, include S, Fe, Mn, B, Mo, Zn, and Cu.

Moisture Meter: An electronic device that measures the exact moisture content of soil at any given point.

Mole: A mole is a carnivorous underground Insectivora (not a rodent)  that will eat worms, grubs, and adult insects.

Monoecious: A plant having both the male and female reproductive organs in the same individual; hermaphrodite.

Mound: A growth habit with a tight, half-circle form.

Mound Layering: A method of propagation in which various woody-stemmed plants (as currants, gooseberries, quinces) are cut back to the ground in early spring and the new shoots that they develop are covered with soil to a depth of six to eight inches to induce root growth which forms individual plants that can be removed in the fall. Also called stool layering.

Mulch: Mulch is a material laid on the ground around plants to retain soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, insulate the roots during the winter, reduce erosion, and suppress weed growth. Organic mulches include bark (pine, hardwood, etc.,) wood chips, straw, composted leaves, and newspaper. Inorganic mulches include gravel or stone.

Mycorrhiza:  A  symbiotic association of the mycelium of a fungus, especially a basidiomycete, with the roots of certain plants, in which the hyphae form a closely woven mass around the rootlets or penetrate the cells of the root.

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Native Plants:  Native plant is a term used to describe plants endemic (indigenous) to a given area in geologic time. This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area.

Naturalized: An establish plant that it lives wild in a region where it is not indigenous.

Necrosis: The death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply

Nectar: Nectar is a sweet liquid in many flowers that serves as food for a variety of wildlife, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Nectar Flow: Also known as honey flow, nectar flow is a term used by beekeepers indicating that one or more major nectar sources are in bloom and the weather is favorable for bees to fly and collect the nectar in abundance.

Nematode:  A worm of the large phylum Nematoda, such as a roundworm or threadworm.

Neutral:  Neutral soil has a pH of 7.

Nidus:  A place or point in an organism where a germ or other organism can develop or breed.

IMG_0273Night-blooming Garden: A night-blooming garden is one that is creating to be appreciated in the evening, after working all day. This can be with white (and light colored) flowers, and those that scent is more pronounced in the evening like an flowering tobacco.


Nitrogen: The chemical element of atomic number 7, a colorless, odorless unreactive gas that forms about 78 percent of the earth’s atmosphere. Liquid nitrogen (made by distilling liquid air) boils at 77.4 kelvins (-195.8°C) and is used as a coolant.

Nemophilist: One who loves the forest and its beauty and solitude.

Nocturnal: Active at night.

Node: The part of a plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge, often forming a slight swelling or knob.

N-P-K: This is expressed with three numbers (10-10-10 for example) on bags of fertilizer and refers to the nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium ratio in the mix. N, nitrogen; P, phosphorus; K, potassium.

Nursery: A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size.

Nutrients: A substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and the maintenance of life.

Nyctophile: A person who loves night, darkness.

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Open Pollinated:  Open pollination is pollination by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms, and contrasts with cleistogamy, closed pollination, which is one of the many types of self pollination

Opposite: An arrangement of leaves or buds on a stem in which the leaves emerge from the stem in opposing pair.

Organic Matter: Organic materials are those originating from a living organism. Organic has also become the common term to refer to a method of gardening in which no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used.

Ornamental:  Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as houseplants, for cut flowers and specimen display. The cultivation of these, called floriculture, forms a major branch of horticulture.

Overseed: To seed an existing stand with another type of plant, such as overseeding the Bermuda grass with ryegrass.

Overwinter: To keep plants alive through the winter.

Organic: Made of, or derived from or related to living organisms. In agriculture organic means natural. in chemistry organic means a molecule or substance that contains carbon.

Ovary: The enlarged basal portion of the pistil where ovules are produced.

Ovule: A plant’s egg found within the calyx, it contains all the female genes; when fertilized, an ovule will grow into a seed.

Oxygen: Tasteless, colorless element, necessary in soil to sustain plant life as well as animal life.

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Parasite: Organism that lives on or in another host organism; fungus is a parasite.

Patio: A patio is an outdoor space generally used for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence, and is typically paved.

Peat: Partially decomposed vegetation (usually moss) with slow decay due to extreme moisture and cold.

Peduncle: The stalk of a flower.

Pesticide: A substance used for destroying insects or other organisms harmful to cultivated plants or to animals. Not used in Helen’s Haven.

Pest Resistant: Pests (weeds, insects, mites, diseases, etc.) that become resistant to a pesticide will not be affected by the pesticide. When pests are resistant, it is more difficult to control the pest.

Perennial: A perennial are plants lasting at least three life-cycles, such as rosemary, lavender, and many other long lived plants.


Permaculture: Permaculture is sustainable land use design.




Pergola: A pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice. As a type of gazebo, it may also be an extension of a building, or serve as protection for an open terrace, or a link between pavilions.

Perlite: Perlite is a very light weight, heat-treated volcanic rock that is used to improve drainage and to increase the pore space, for oxygen availability to the roots, in potting soil.

Petal: The parts of a flower that are often conspicuously colored.

Petiole:  The stalk that joins a leaf to a stem; leafstalk.

Petrichor: The smell of earth after rain.

Pinnately compound evergreen foliage: Includes individual leaflets on a stem. If such a leaf is evenly pinnate, it has an even number of leaves, one on each side of the stem. Oddly pinnate means having the same arrangement as evenly, but with the addition of an extra leaf at the very top of the stem. A leaf whose blade is divided into two or more distinct leaflets.

Plants with BenefitsPlants with Benefits: Plants With Benefits: An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, & Veggies in Your Garden (2014, St. Lynn’s Press)



Pluviophile: Some one who loves the rain, who finds joy and peace of mind in rainy days.

Pluviophila: A love of rain; a feeling of joy, hope, and relief on stormy days.

pH: A scale from 1 to 14 that measures the acid to alkaline balance of a growing medium (or anything); in general plants grow best in a range of 5.5 to 6.8 pH.

pH Scale: pH scale.

pH Tester: Electronic instrument or chemical used to find where soil or water is on the pH scale.

Phloem: The vascular tissue in plants that conducts sugars and other metabolic products downward from the leaves.


Photometrics: The study of light, especially color.

Phosphor Coating: Internal bulb coating that diffuses light and is responsible for variations in color outputs.

Photoperiod: The relationship between the length of light and dark in a 24 hour period.

Photosynthesis: The building of chemical compounds (carbohydrates) from light energy, water and carbon dioxide.

Phototropism: The specific movement of a plant part towards a light source.

Phylloclades: Leaf-like stems.

Phytoplasma: Aster yellows is a chronic, systemic plant disease caused by a bacterium-like organism called a phytoplasma. The aster yellows phytoplasma (AYP) affects 300 species in 38 families of broad-leaf herbaceous plants, primarily in the aster family, as well as important cereal crops such as wheat and barley.

Pigment: The substance in paint or anything that absorbs light, producing (reflecting) the same color.

Picotee:  A type of carnation whose light-colored flowers have dark-edged petals.

Pinching Back:  Pinching back plants is a form of pruning that encourages branching on the plant. This means that when you pinch a plant, you are removing the main stem, forcing the plant to grow two new stems from the leaf nodes below the pinch or cut.

Piquancy: Is a term applied to foods with a lower degree of pungency that are agreeably stimulating to the palate.

Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower. The ovary often supports a long style, topped by a stigma. The mature ovary is a fruit, and the mature ovule is a seed.

Pod: A pod is the dried fruit or seed vessel on a plant that encases the seed.

Pollarding:  Pollarding is to cut off the top and branches of(a tree to encourage new growth at the top.

Pollen: Fine, dust like micro- spores containing male genes.

Pollination: Pollination is the spreading of pollen between plants for reproductive purposes and the development of fruit.

Pome: In botany, a pome is a type of fruit produced by flowering plants in the subtribe Malinae of the family Rosaceae. A fruit consisting of a fleshy enlarged receptacle and a tough central core containing the seeds, e.g., pyracantha, pear.

Porosity:  Soil porosity refers to that part of a soil volume that is not occupied by soil particles or organic matter. Pore spaces are filled with either air, other gases, or water. Large pores (macropores) allow the ready movement of air and the drainage of water.

Potting Soil: A mixture of loam, peat, sand, and nutrients, used as a growing medium for plants in containers.

Primary Nutrients: N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium)

Predator: An animal that naturally preys on others. I worry that predators will get to my chickens.

Pre-Emergent Herbicide: Prevents the germination of seeds by inhibiting a key enzyme. In some areas of the world, they are used to prevent crabgrass from appearing in summer lawns. Pre-emergent herbicides are applied to lawns in the spring and fall to prevent the germination of weed seed.

Progeny: A descendant or the descendants of a person, animal, or plant; offspring.

Propagate: (1) Sexual: produce a seed by breeding different male and female flowers (2) Asexual: to produce a plant by taking cuttings

Propagation: plant reproduction, done in three ways: division, cutting (see above), and seed. Division propagation is taking plant clumps, roots and all, and dividing them into smaller pieces to transplant elsewhere.

Prostrate:  A prostrate shrub is a woody plant, most of the branches of which lie upon or just above the ground, rather than being held erect as are the branches of most trees and shrubs. Way too often confused with prostate.

Prune: Alter the shape and growth pattern of a plant by cutting stems and shoots. A restaurant in NYC.

Psithurism: The sound of wind through trees.

Pubescent:  On certain plants a covering with a layer of fine short hairs or down.

Pungency: Pungency is the technical term used by scientists to refer to the characteristic of food commonly referred to as spiciness or hotness and sometimes heat.

Pyrethrum: Natural insecticide made from the blossoms of various chrysanthemums.

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Rain Barrel: A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.

Rain Gardening front cover Rain Garden:  Rain Garden.

Receptacle: The part of a flower stalk where the parts of the flower are attached.



Rejuvenate: Restore youth; a mature plant, having completed its life cycle (flowering), may be stimulated by a new 18 hour photo period, to rejuvenate or produce new vegetative growth.

Resistant: Refers to how well a plant resists to pests.

Rhizomes:  A continuously growing horizontal underground stem that puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

Root: Their purpose is to anchor a plant and provide a means in which to feed and hydrate a plant.

Root Bound: Roots stifled or inhibited from normal growth, by the confines of a container.

Root Flare: The outwardly curving base of a tree where it joins the roots, often distinguishable as individual root buttresses.

Root Rot: Root rot is a condition found in both indoor and outdoor plants, although more common in indoor plants with poor drainage. As the name states, the roots of the plant rot. Usually, this is a result of overwatering.

Root Stock: A rootstock is part of a plant, often an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced. It can refer to a rhizome or underground stem.

Row Cover: In horticulture, row cover (or cloche) is any material used as a protective covering to shield plants, usually vegetables, primarily from the undesirable effects of cold and wind, and also from insect damage.

Runner:  A long thin stem that usually grows horizontally along the ground and produces roots and shoots at widely spaced nodes, as in a strawberry plant. Also called stolon.

Runoff:  The draining away of water from the surface of an area of land, a building. or structure.

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Salt: Crystalline compound that results from improper pH or toxic buildup of fertilizer. Salt will burn plants, preventing them from absorbing nutrients.

Sales: Up right stakes in the wattle craft.

Scarification: In horticulture, stratification is the process of pretreating seeds to simulate natural winter conditions that a seed must endure before germination. Many seed species undergo an embryonic dormancy phase, and generally will not sprout until this dormancy is broken.

Scoring, scratching, or teasing roots: The loosening of roots when taken from a nursery pot so they won’t continue growing in a circle is referred to as teasing the roots.

Scratch-in: Scratch-in means raking granular fertilizer into the soil either with fingers or a small rake or hand cultivator.

Screen: Landscaping that is primarily used to screen an area for privacy, to block an objectionable view, or to serve as a natural boundary or border is considered a screen planting. Selections might include dense, fast-growing, evergreen shrubs; trees; vines; large succulents and tall ornamental grasses

Secondary Nutrients: Calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg).

Seed: A flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another such plant.

Seed Pod: A dry calyx containing a mature or maturing seed.

Seed Propagation means growing plants from seed.

Selenophile: A person who loves the moon.

Sepal: The outer parts of the flower (often green and leaf-like) that enclose a developing bud.

Self-Pollinating:  The pollination of a flower by pollen from the same flower or from another flower on the same plant.

Side-Dress: To fertilize (growing plants) by mixing fertilizer into the soil along each row. Side-dressing and top dressing refer to two ways of fertilizing-along the side or on top of the roots. Topdressing usually involves composted material or mulch.

Shade Cloth: Shade cloth is a commercially available material for hanging over your greenhouse glazing to cool it in summer months. They are usually made of loosely woven polyester or even aluminum and can be found in varying densities or degrees of shade from appx. 5% to 95%


Boxwood hedgeShearing:  Something cut off by shearing. Pruning boxwoods is a good example.

Sphagnum peat moss is decomposed sphagnum moss, but it is not so fully decomposed that you cannot see the shredded fiber of moss. Peat is very dark with fine particles. Sphagnum is usually more expensive but preferred for amending both garden soil and potting soil.



Slow movement: The Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace. The slow movement  began in 1986 with Carlo Petrini’s protest against the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant in Plazza di Spagna, Rome. Thus the slow food organization was born.  Over time, this developed into a subculture in other areas, such as slow garden, slow design, slow food, slow flowers, slow travel, and so on.

Slow Release Fertilizer: The property of a fertilizer that allows it to release it nutrients to plants over time.

Soil minerals: Soil minerals, also called nutrients, are necessary for plants. The minerals needed in large amounts (macronutrients) include: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Other elements are needed in smaller amounts (micronutrients) such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, chlorine, and molybdenum. Other nutrients include carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; these are obtained through water and air.

Soil mix and potting soil:  Both are possibilities for filling pots, but they have essential differences. A soil mix is garden soil mixed with sand, compost, or other amendments. Potting soil, a mixture of organic and inorganic ingredients, doesn’t contain any actual soil in the mixture. It is light, well drained, and sterile.

Soil Test: Soil test.

Soluble Salts: Definition of Insoluble salts (precipitates.) Many ionic metal compounds are insoluble in water.  Calcium carbonate, copper chloride, and lead sulfide are examples of such salts.

Soluble: Able to be dissolved in water.

Specimen: A plant that has interest enough to stand on its own and not be apart of a mass planting.

Spike: An elongated main stem that supports many separate flowers on shorter stems, usually symmetrically arranged, as with Penstemon.

Spring: Spring

Spring Fever: Oh, you’ll know it, when you have it!

Spore: Seed like offspring of a fungus.

Sprout: (1) A recently germinated seed (2) Small new growth of a leaf or stem.

Square Feet (SqFt): Length (in feet) times width equals square feet.

Stratification (the seed): Aa brief cold-treatment (few days) of water soaked seeds to break seed dormancy, results in an even germination. It is unlikely that pre-chilling dry seeds will break dormancy.

Succulents: Succulents are plants with fleshy, thick tissue adapted to storing water. Common succulents include agaves, ice plants, and stonecrops.

Suckers: Suckers, often called watersprouts, shoots, or canes, is growth from the roots of trees, some shrubs, roses, as well as from rootstock of grafted trees or roses.

Subtend:  Subtend (of a bract) extend under (a flower) so as to support or enfold it.

Sun Requirements: Sun Requirements.

Sustainable:  Sustainable gardening,

Sustainable: Means to perpetuate existence as well as to provide sustenance and nourishment.

Stamen: Male, pollen-producing.

Standard: A tree or shrub growing on an erect stem of full height.

Starch: Complex carbohydrate; starch is manufactured and stored in food.

Sterilize: Make sterile (super clean) by removing dirt, germs and bacteria.

Stigma: The part of the pistil where pollen germinates.

Stress: A physical or chemical factor that causes extra exertion by plants; a stressed plant will not grow as well as a non stressed plant.

Stolon: A stolon is a horizontal stem growing above ground that forms roots at its tip.

Stool Layering:  A method of propagation in which various woody-stemmed plants (as currants, gooseberries, quinces) are cut back to the ground in early spring and the new shoots that they develop are covered with soil to a depth of six to eight inches to induce root growth which forms individual plants that can be removed in the fall. Also called mound layering.

Stomata: Small mouth like or nose like openings (pores) on leaf underside, responsible for transpiration and many other life functions; the millions of stomata, must be kept very clean to function properly.

Succulent: A type of plant with thick, fleshy leaves, stems, or tubers.

Suckers: A sucker is a shoot or cane which grows from a bud at the base of a tree or shrub or from adventitious buds in its roots.

Sugar: Food product of plant. Carbohydrates that contain hydrocarbon chain.

Sunscald:  Damage to plant tissue, especially bark or fruit, caused by exposure to excessive sunlight.

Susceptible Host: 


Synthesis: Production of a substance, such as chlorophyll, by uniting light energy and elements or chemical compounds.

Synthetic Fertilizer:  Phosphoric acid and potash are the most common phosphorus and potassium ingredients in synthetic fertilizers. Synthetic fertilizers are by definition not natural. They are specifically designed to feed a plant a certain amount of specific nutrients.


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Tap Root: The main or primary root that grows from the seed; lateral roots will branch off the tap root.



Tenalach: Used to describe a relationship one has with the land, air, and water. A deep connection that allows one to literally hear the Earth sing.

Tendril: Designing with vines.

Tepid: Warm 70 to 80 degrees F (21 to 27 degrees C); always use tepid water around plants to facilitate chemical processes and ease shock.


Terminal Bud: Bud at the growing end of the main stem.

Terrestrial: Up-land, non-aquatic habitat.

Texture: Texture refers to the overall visual texture of the plant—the size and shape of the plant, and its foliage.

Thatch: Lawn thatch is the layer of dead turfgrass tissue between the green vegetation and the soil surface that must be removed (a process known as “dethatching”) to maintain lawn health. It consists of stems, leaves, stolons, rhizomes and roots.

Thin: Cull or weed out very slow growing seedlings.


Thug: A name give to plants that grow vigorously and choke out less aggressive nearby plants.

Till: Tilling is simply turning over and breaking up the soil. Exactly how deep you till and how fine you break up the soil depends on your reason for tilling.

Tissue Culture: The growth in an artificial medium of cells derived from living tissue.

Top-dress:  To spread manure or fertilizer on the surface of (land) without working it into the soil. I top-dress my garden beds every year with fresh leaf mold.

Topiary: The art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes.


Topsoil: The fertile, upper part of the soil.

Trailing: To hang down loosely from something. Plants that trail soften edges and spread down or out.

Transpire: Give off water vapor and by products via stomata and carbon dioxide intake at the leaves.


Treated Seed: In agriculture and horticulture, a chemical seed treatment, typically antimicrobial or fungidal, with which seeds are treated prior to planting.

Trellis: Frame or netting (lattice) that trains or supports plants.

Triecious: Of or pertaining to a species having male, female, and hermaphrodite flowers on different plants.

Tropical: The tropics are warm places without freezes. Plants that thrive in hot humid climates.

Tuberous Roots: Tuberous roots are the fifth and final type of bulb. Most often, tuberous roots are not thought of as bulbs at all (at least, not by me), but they are. Their parts below the ground are unmistakable. Unlike other bulb types, those tuberous roots have puffy root-like structures that look as though someone pumped them up like a balloon, but they are really adapted stems—not a true root. Instead, the actual root grows from the sides and the tip of the tuberous root. Familiar tuberous root plants include dahlias and daylilies.

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Umbel: The flowering part of a plant made up of a cluster of flowers, as with lantana.

Undercut: Remove the final stump by cutting close to the trunk, but not flush with it. Make an angled cut away from the tree, just beyond the crease in the bark where the branch meets the trunk.

Understock: The rooted plant that receives the scion.

Upright: Vertical or erect. 

Up-pot: To up-put mean to repot a plant when it’s outgrown its pot to a larger one. Increase the size of the pot and freshen the old potting soil with new soil. This gives the roots more room to grow.

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Variegated: Having or consisting of leaves that are edged or patterned in a second color, especially white as well as green.

Variety: Strain, phenotype.

Vascular System:  The vessels and tissue that carry or circulate sap through the  plant.

Vegetative: Of, relating to, or denoting reproduction or propagation achieved by asexual means, either naturally (budding, rhizomes, runners, bulbs, etc.) or artificially (grafting, layering, or taking cuttings).

Vent: Opening such as a window or door that allows the circulation of fresh air.

Ventilation: Circulation of fresh air, fundamental to a healthy indoor garden, an exhaust fan creates excellent ventilation.

Vermiculture: Tthe cultivation of annelid worms (as earthworms or bloodworms) especially for use in composting.

Vernalization: Vernalization is the  subjection of seeds or seedlings to cold temperatures in order to hasten plant development and flowering. The seeds and buds of many plants require cold in order to break dormancy.

Vertical: Up and down perpendicular to the horizontal.

Viticulture: The cultivation of grapes.

Mulch volcanoVolcano Mulching: Volcano mulching is an improper mulching technique where mulch is piled high against the trunk of a tree.
It is recommended to avoid this type of tree care maintenance. Mulch should not touch the trunk of the tree.

Vole:  A vole is a vegetarian rodent. A vole will gnaw at the base of a tree or shrub. A vole may also damage flower bulbs and potatoes in the garden; but mainly, the vole will eat the stems and blades of lawn grass.
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Warm-season crops: Warm-season veggies require both warm soil and high temperatures (with a little cooling at night) to grow steadily and produce crops. They include traditional summer crops such as snap beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, peppers, tomatoes, and squash.

Warm-season grasses: Warm-season grasses are those grasses actively growing when its warm, and its green in the summer and the color of hay in the winter.  Common warm-season grass include Zoysia, Centipede, and Bermuda.  Warm-season grass tend to flourish during the warmer summer months, and therefore require fertilizing shortly after green-up in the spring and again in the late summer months.

Water-in: To water-in means using a liquid vitamin, plant food, or some other additive with water so it can be readily absorbed by the soil.

Water Soluble: Able to be dissolved in water.

Waterspouts:  Watersprouts are the growth resulting from buds on the surface of old wood of a plant. The growth is very thin relative to the parent branch and the joint between the sprout and branch is weak. Like a sucker, the sprout wood is juvenile and fast-growing, fed on ample water and nutrients from the large parent wood. 

Water-wise: Water-wise.

Weed: A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.

Weeping: Used in names of tree and shrub varieties with drooping branches. As example, a weeping cherry.

Weavers:  The stems used at the weave in the wattle craft.

Wetting Agent: Compourd that reduces the droplet size and lowers the surface tension of the water, making it wetter.

Whirled: Sometimes more than two leaves arise from the same location (node) on a twig, the leaves may radiate from the twig like the spokes on wheel.

Wick: Part of a passive hydroponic system using a wick suspended in the nutrients solution, the nutrients pass up the wick and are absorbed by the medium and roots.

Wildcrafting: The gathering herbs, plants, fungi from the wild.

Wildlife Habitat: Wildlife Habitats.

Wilt:  Wilting refers to the loss of rigidity of non-woody parts of plants. This occurs when the rate of loss of water from the plant is greater than the absorption of water in the plant.

Winter Interest:  Gardening for winter interest is to add color, exfoliating bark, berries, and flowers that are interesting during the winter months.   Winter Protection: Winer protection means to protect plants from cold, dry winds, and low winter temperatures to minimize plant damage or death. Container grown plants need winter protection to protect the roots from repeated freezing and thawing.

Woody: Having stems and branches that are made of wood.

Withy: A tough flexible branch of an osier or other willow, used for tying, binding, or basketry.

Wound:  An injury to living tissue caused by a cut, blow, or other impact, typically one in which the skin is cut or broken

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Xericscaping: Xericaping is a type of garden or using a particular plant that tolerates a low moisture growing environment. Water-wise refers to the same concept or type of plant.  

Xylem: A compound tissue in vascular plants that helps provide support and that conducts water and nutrients upward from the roots, consisting of tracheids, vessels, parenchyma cells, and woody fibers

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Yellowing: There are many reasons to cause yellow leaves on plants: Too little water,  insect pests, chlorosis, root issues or nutrient deficiencies, or lack of sunlight

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250px-USDA_Hardiness_zone_map  Zone: A hardiness zone is a geographically-defined zone in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by temperature hardiness, or ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone.


Zone Denial: Risk takers…jk…Tony Avent…not kidding…



Helen Signature
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6 responses to “Garden Glossary”

  1. Lee says:

    great list, long as hell. there quite a few on there i hadn’t come across.

  2. Teri speight says:

    This is an awesome list! A great guide for new gardeners to become familiar with and experienced gardeners to refresh their memory with!

  3. HelenYoest says:

    Thanks, T! H.

  4. This. Is. Fantastic. Is this available for sharing? So many of our new (and realistically some of our old) clients have NO idea what half of these things are. Or what I’m babbling about when I get excited about something and go off on a tangent. I would love to be able to use this at the office!

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